Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Horse Eating Blue Tarp

From the first day that I took the geldings out of the barn, they have have spooked at the stack of hay beside the door. Turk, the paint horse got over it within a couple of days. The roan horse still sees monsters...leaving the barn, going back into the barn, entering the round corral and leaving the round corral. The last few days we have had some rain showers so the owner of the barn put the tarp back on the hay. Turk took a good, long look at it and then was fine. The roan horse...(insert eye roll)!!! So today I took some strips of old tarp with me to the barn. I am sick of getting run into and over by the roan horse. We were going to fix this problem!
I have never done a lot of sacking out with strange stuff, because my horses get hauled enough that they get used to a lot of strange stimulus.
These horses? They haven't been off of the ranch in 6 years. That's a long time to live in a safe and comfortable world. Turk is taking it all in and adjusting well. I like him more and more every day.
Knowing he would handle this without a lot of freaking out, I put him in the round corral first. Poor guy, he is my guinea pig. And my stabilizer!!

At first he thought the tarp stips were gonna eat him...

Pretty soon he started walking around them...

He was pretty sure they were gonna reach up and bite him...

But...he got over it...


It didn't take long and I would send him around the round corral and he wasn't spooking at them at all. I spend some time picking a strip up and approaching him. He backed up a lot, but never got excited enough to leave. Once I could rub him on both sides of his neck with it, I quit.

Time for the roan horse...sorry, no pictures of that. I left Turk in the round pen and brought Roan Dog in. He didn't want to come in. But, I gave him plenty of time to look things over and pretty soon he came in to join his friend. All I did was turn him loose to evaluate the situation. He stared at those tarp strips like he was pretty sure they were going to jump up and eat him. Turk looked at him like he was an idiot. By the time I was done cleaning stalls they were standing next to the tarp and neither of them seemed bothered by it.

It was getting dark on me, so I quickly saddled Turk and took him to the arena. I am going to have to say, I think the chiro helped him...a little. We now have a right lead!! And...he can maintain it!! Yay!!! There are still problems with the left lead, but I think the next step will be to get his teeth worked on. Now that he seems to be traveling better, I can feel that he is bracing himself to the left and really dropping that shoulder. I would bet he has some sharp edges on that side.

In the meantime, the roan horse was experimenting with the tarp. He bucked and played in the round pen and I could hear his feet hitting the tarp. By the time I got done with Turk and headed back toward the pickup to unsaddle, the roan horse was standing there one of the strips of tarp hanging out of his mouth. Yea...I think it is safe to say, he killed the horse eating blue tarp. And when it came time to put them away? He led right into the barn without a sideways glance at the tarp covered bales. Progress is progress. Now if I just had another 2 or 3 months of being able to keep this horse in a stall and working with him multiple times a day.


My mom may have thought it was a waste of money to bring these horses all the way out here for two weeks, but this one on one time with them is proving very valuable.

10 comments:

Flying Lily said...

He killed it dead! That is hilarious. What a training victory. I love it.

20 meter circle of life said...

ah yes the evil blue tarp, I mean Anaconda!! Funny how silly theu are once they figure out its no big deal!!! I can walk do anything to Booster with a tarp, but let the tractor be moved 4 inches from the daybefore and I am in for a Spook!

Andrea said...

I love Roan Dog!! LOL, that is too funny!! I love that he killed it!! Ha ahah hahahaha!! I am glad they are making progress!

kdwhorses said...

Way to go Turk! Glad he is picking up his right lead and holding it! Ya!!

Roan Dog! Poor guy, at least he won and killed it! LOL! Progress is progress!

fssunnysd said...

I hear you on horses that haven't been off the property! Boy, do I!!!

I love using tarps as obstacles - I move them around, hang them on the fence, put poles on them, eventually ride across them....

I like using plastic bags, too. And although you wouldn't think the plastic bag thing would translate from familiar location to strange one, I've found it does really help.

Nothing removes the startle quotient of unexpected encounters with flying, flapping objects. But just getting a horse familiar and comfortable with the sound plastic makes when wind hits or it touches them is a big step. Once rattling, crackling & flapping doesn't have scary connotations, then when they spot a horse-eating Wal-mart bag flying at them usually they get a bit big-eyed, but they don't freak completely.

And I figure that any stressful situation they learn to deal with calmly in my presence means more trust later when I need it. It's win-win, as far as I'm concerned!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Turk is a pretty boy. You have so many horses you work with. I get exhausted just dealing with my three. My spook test today was walking then past my neighbor's rider mower that has an engine that rivals the noise level of a jet. Lostine handled it no problem, Bombay bolted once, but corrected himself. Gabbrielle looked like she was going to fly to the moon, so I turned her away before the test started. I didn't want her to break loose from me and end up in the intersection down the road.

Rising Rainbow said...

I thought of the horse eating blue tarp today as I saw Scarlet out there on top of the tarp that covers our manure pile. Guess the other horses forgot to tell Scarlet about the danger.....or maybe it's because our tarp is green.

Callie said...

Great progress! That had to be a sight! With the tarp hanging out of his mouth! LOL

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

It is so neat the way a horse will take the word of a another horse (when trying to decide what is horse eating and what is not) over that of a human. I think that old and wise horses are not used enough to teach young horses the ropes. If a horse can learn to crib or weave or push fences from another horse, they can also learn good stuff!! Really cute photos! I want your pen.

Pony Girl said...

Yes isn't it funny, I'm sure they learn bad habits from each other, but what a good idea to teach new good things to each other, too! Horses are looking for a leader to tell them it will not eat them. Turk led the roan dog! What a good role model. I should use this theory w/my schoolchildren, LOL!