Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It has been two months since I last wrote in the blog. There is a very good reason for that and it is not a happy one. On the morning of February 14th we woke up to discover that the brand new arena we had built in the summer had collapsed. Unfortunately, for many reasons, we have to go through litigation to make any recovery so I cannot talk much about it.

Because we had only been working with the horses inside and Vermont experienced snowfall about 40 inches above the average, we had no place to work with them outside. Even the driveway was icy! Finally, though, late last week and this week the warmer temperatures have arrived and the driveway is real again, not ice and snow covered.

I took advantage of today’s weather to do some fun de-spooking activities with the horses. As I’m participating in the Ride A Curly contest I’ve already mentioned, I was happy to learn about a “mini-contest” in the month of April. We are to choose obstacles from the CSB course located on the website and introduce as many as three horses to any one of them to gain points.

The course I set up for today included: the Big Ball, a penguin ‘decoy’, a tarp, a plastic bag filled with noisy cans and plastic bottles, a backpack with goodies and more plastic bottles, and a old tire.

*Jack was the first one I took down and I learned that I, indeed, had a 7th obstacle. We cannot clean up the arena yet and the torn tarp flaps in the breeze. It was a good de-spooking exercise for sure! *Jack has seen the ball before, but not blowing in the wind! It took him quite some time to come up to it as it rocked back and forth, but he did. I then decided to move it inside because it was getting all the other horses going as well. Next up was the tarp I had laid down. He had no trouble walking across it (first time!) and then I picked it up and waved it around and dragged it next to him. He just would look at it, then at me, until I clicked and treated him. We investigated the tire (ho-hum!) and then the back pack. That was a favorite! “Hmmm,” he said, “I can smell goodies. Let me stick my nose in as far as possible to find them.” The plastic can bag also caused a reaction. Every time I would shake it those ears came forward, but eventually he crept closer and closer, and touched it. “Good boy *Jack!” Click and Treat.

The last item to play with was the penguin and it too was “Ho-hum”. Next time I’ll try to add a couple of items but keep the ones that bothered him the most (plus the yummy backpack)

Next up, Guin took *Leo for a walk. He was just weaned this weekend and this was his first day out. *Walker has been fine with him in the paddock next to him, but once he was out, she really put up a stink. *Leo, on the other hand, was far too interested in Guin and the walk. She took him all the way down to the barn and they investigated the tire. He walked back up just fine but then he decided that the stream of water he had already crossed going out of the paddock would eat him! She very patiently worked with him while I entertained *Jack and *Bill. It took about 15 minutes but eventually he felt he could take one small step at a time and come across. Never did he get upset, sweat, or show any nervousness. He just stood and contemplated until he was ready. I was very proud of the both of them.

I then took *Glory down to do the obstacles. She was not spooked by any of the items, and in fact, not particularly interested. She was FAR more interested in the collapsed arena’s tarp flapping though. However, it is too dangerous to take a horse near it. I worry about nails and such. However, we were able to get a nice photo of her with the tarp draped over her showing just how easy going she is. (Please excuse the mud, the snow is melting here!)

1 comment:

Bonni said...

Hi Adria, its great to get updates from you and your beautiful herd again!
I look forward to reading the challenges you set your horses during the contest :)