When you are working with any horse, the main thing you are trying to achieve is trust: they must trust you not to take them to places where harm will befall them. Libby had lots of trust instilled already by her former owners. In many ways, she is calmer and more easy-going than Blue. And that is saying a lot!
When I bought Blue, his owners told me that one of the things they'd done with him, when they were training him, was to teach him to walk over a plastic tarp. This is totally a lesson in trust, because horses don't like anything that makes a strange noise when they step onto it, and they certainly don't like something that moves with every step. Not to mention they don't like seeing something unusual lying on the ground in the first place!
I'd never done this exercise with Blue, or any other horse (I'm not a horse-trainer, remember?), but I figured it might do Libby some good.
She didn't like the tarp at first, but I led her in circles around it, getting closer and closer to it, letting her smell it, and snort and jump back when she wanted to. In under ten minutes, she was willingly letting me lead her across the tarp.
I was almost disappointed that it was so easy.
After walking her off the tarp and back across several times, I got the idea to bring Blue out and let him try his luck.
He had forgotten any lessons he ever learned with a blue plastic tarp at his old home, because he wasn't having any part of such nonsense. It took at least a half-hour to get him on it, and even then he wasn't totally comfortable. He sure gave me some good laughs with his silliness, though.
I'm so thankful for my Foxtrotters.