Monday, November 6, 2006

Horse lessons

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.


marainey1 said...

Foxtrotters reminds me of the dance...I knew it once a very long time ago, when we had Ball room dancing in Jr. High.  So, now when I think of you and your horses I'll remember the lovely dance you do. (on blue tarps)  Have a great day ! 'On Ya' - ma

nanlynska said...

Donna.....I'm thankful that I had the privelege of 'visiting' your cabin in July of 2005 and now when you post pictures I know exactly where it is. Then the fond memories of time spent at your farm on a Saturday afternoon in July come pouring back into my mind. You are BLESSED ! I feel very blessed too, because God allowed our 'paths' to cross. Have great fun with that new baby, Libby!

schoolgal040 said...

Good Morning~
You are so amazing with your horses! I'm very impressed. I'd never heard of the blue tarp thing, really great thing to do.
I love you writing about your training with Lilly and Blue. Makes my day!


madcobug said...

I would have loved to have watched you getting the horses on the blue plastic. The color along is enough to scare them. They are smart critters. Helen

astaryth said...

Very Cool! I'm glad that Libby did so well. We always did things like this with our youngsters. We also 'sacked them out' which is nothing more than taking a light blanket and throwing it all over them and under them and around their legs so they learn to stand still even if something falls off of them or gets wrapped around them when you are working with them. Also we 'canned' them. A bunch of cans (usually soda cans <g>) tied together on string and then the same thing as sacking them out, except the cans make noise!

csandhollow said...

One thing I did with Precious was lead her thru sprlinkers with someone turning them on and off.

siennastarr said...

Since I don't know anything about horses, and have only ridden them a few time sin my life, this was very interesting!


mutualaide said...

Oh, you are having such fun with your babies!  I love reading the short and long of it all!

bnanajm said...

I'm thankful you have the horses, too.  They give you such pleasure and that makes me happy.  :o)

lanurseprn said...

I love your stories about your horses.  It's very interesting to me.  I never thought about the trust thing with them.  Makes a lot of sense.
Libby is so pretty!!

randlprysock said...

Love the pictures and the cabin!!  Horses are just beautiful.  That made me think all that your wrote about trust.  Hugs,

cyandfayedavis said...

Don't they just warm your heart?  I am thankful that you have them.