Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Terra Incognita

Yesterday before I put Tonka and Raven through their paces I grabbed a tarp from the garage. Getting horses to walk over tarps seems to be a common training goal so I thought we should give it a try. First I folded it down to 1/8 of its size and gave Raven a treat every time she touched it. Within a few minutes she had both front feet on it, but she was avoiding it with the hinds. Within 10 minutes I had completely unfolded it (12X16) and she was all over the darned thing mugging me for treats. After that I walked her with very short trot intervals (a few of them over the tarp) for about 20 minutes. Before Tonka had his longing session he walked all over the already-unfolded tarp without seeming to notice that it was there -- show that horse a treat and he becomes admirably tunnel-visioned.


Grey Horse Matters said...

That's pretty good. It's amazing what they'll do for a treat isn't it?

EvenSong said...

I know Fugly frowns upon some of the more inane desensitization "tricks" but I think it's an issue of building trust and willingness to give it a go. Good for Raven (and you) that she was able to work up to it.

After a brief longing seesion the other day, I aimed my little three year old at the 40 by 50 by 10 foot high pile of fill dirt that is currently residing in the low end of my "almost-an-arena", waiting to be spread in the spring. She hesitated for a moment, so I clambored up myself (not an easy task, mind you). She came right up, at which point I srambled back down, out of her way, and stayed there for a bit, looking all proud of herself for being "queen of the mountain!" It's about trust, and letting them know you think they can do it, and that you'll make sure they're safe (works with kids, too)!

allhorsestuff said...

Wa will allow me to put a tarp on her, to the point of her being enveloped whole body but, I have not gotten her to walk on one yet.
I will have to try the treats...maybe put carrots on it

Anonymous said...

Show me a treat & I react just like Tonka :-)