I just read a post on a forum in which someone suggested that in dealing with spooky horses, we must "make them touch" the thing they are afraid of.
All I can say is this: how many of us humans are afraid of snakes, spiders, lightning storms, tornadoes, roaches, fire ants, etc.?
Is our approach for our friends, family, children, and our SELVES to insist that we go touch that which we are afraid of?
In most cases, of course not. In at least some cases, the fear is actually healthy and keeps us safe.
As a therapist who has worked with a few phobic clients (I venture that this might be similar to a spooky horse, or close enough for a comparison), progressive desensitization is a slow, gradual, gentle way to assist with managing phobias which interfere with daily life.
Why in the world do we think it's okay to make a horse touch something it's terrified of, as a matter of course?
Have you ever seen someone ride a horse almost into the ground to wear them down so they can get the horse to cross/touch/pass by something that has spooked the horse?
99% of stupid things we inflict on horses would be tossed in a flat second if we first inflicted them on ourselves.
Think about it.