Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Tarp Boy

Something really strange happened with My Boy yesterday. I free longed him then saddled and rode him. After the inspiring trail challenge event I watched on Sunday, I played and worked him over some of the obstacles we'd set up in the arena to desensitize our horses.

Last week when I was working on groundwork, I had led My Boy over the tarp. He handled it well, although he seemed to want to stop at the edge of or on top of the tarp. I did not think anything of it until yesterday, where this time, I approached the tarp while on his back.

Now I am kind of freaking out. Because I noticed as I was riding, the strangest, twilight-zone kind of thing. My Boy seemed to be gravitating towards that tarp. It was like a huge magnetic pull, at times, it was all I could do to get him to stick on the rail and not eventually head for that tarp. In fact, to test this theory, I dropped my reins a few times and he walked right to the tarp, put his front hooves on it, and stopped. Or he'd walk into the middle of it and just stand there. I rode around the arena at various speeds and directions, and he did it every time. This did not appear to be a random behavior. What possible motive could my horse have for wanting to walk and stop on that tarp? I promise, it was not covered in carrots and apples.

My only logical reasoning is that somewhere in his training, someone had trained him to do this. But why? Was it a form of ground tying? Was he once a famous movie horse and trained to go to a tarp "mark?" Oohhh, I like that last idea, but highly unlikely. It boggles my little Pony Girl mind. Actually, I was laughing the whole time he was doing this because it just added to the character of this silly pill of a horse I have. And, it is amazing that after riding him for a year and a half, I would just now discover something so unusual about him. Here are two short video clips my sister took:

Video Two:

Do you have any ideas? Maybe, just maybe, this question will be answered soon. Stay tuned to the end of tomorrow's post to find out why!


  1. Oh, let me guess, ....uhm.....he does that because maybe he remembers the ground work??? He knows he gets to rest there so he pulls towards it to stop? Oh I can't wait to find out!! :) He is such a fun horse!! I love his little jog!!!

  2. I am not sure why your Boy does this. I too like the idea he was in the movies... LOL
    This is great to know, some horses have a very hard time of learning something like this. Isn't this great to learn that your Boy has come with such good ground work to start with and now you get to just add to it.
    Great job to you and your Boy.
    take care!

  3. You're too cute! I think it's because blue is his favorite color. :) You two sure look good together.

  4. Those videos are terrific!

    This just makes me love My Boy even more. He's so gosh darn cute!

    Looks like he goes to the tarp to wait for his cue.

    So, it's your job to find out what it is and then give him that cue. haha!

    Or maybe he is just so tuned into you that he senses that if he goes to the tarp and walks over it, that you'll be pleased.

    I noticed that everytime he did it, you rubbed his neck and rewarded him. To him, the tarp must be a very happy place.

  5. My husband teaches his colts to stop on the tarp when teaching them ground work.

    I think Clinton Anderson does this too.

  6. I would guess he just wants to show you how much he has learned so far with tarps and how smart he is. I'm guessing all the desensitizing work with the tarp got him to thinking it was a fun game and a way to get rubs and a lot of "good boys".

  7. We teach ours to stand on the tarp and they get rewarded for it! He probably remembers that and then with you rewarding him, he keeps doing it. The tarp is a great thing! Is it a different color on the other side? If so flip it over and try it that way. Some horses will be totally different with colors! My tarps are all different colors and I switch them all the time. I also paint my barrells and my bridge has been painted tons of colors! Give a little cowgirl spray paint cans and turn her loose, I will have to post them one day! LOL!
    Ground tying-when we teach ours to ground tie we step off and drop the rein on the ground. We tie them everywhere and on everything. I continually practice this. I know people think I am crazy, but when I ground tie my mare, I will walk around here jumping up and down, yelling, whatever I can think of. You never know what kind of situation you are going to need them to ground tie for.
    Keep up the great work! Loved the videos!!!

  8. Is your boy lazy? If so, it sounds like he knows he will get to rest on the tarp!

  9. Haha - that's too funny! My pony gravitates towards things he finds interesting. Last week it was a couple of blue barrels. He just soooo badly wanted to go check them out.

    Maybe your boy is just really smart and likes to do new and different things? Or did you pat him a lot the day before when you practiced leading him over it? Maybe he thinks blue tarp = good horse?

    I love a horse with a personality!

  10. I'm with kdwhorses!
    He got to graze in "heaven" the last time you were working with the tarp! He loves the attention and your praise. He is a pleaser! He wants to make you happy!!

  11. I agree with most folks here in saying he is remembering his ground work and the tarp is a good place. A place of rest. He is a beautiful boy too. My daughter's gelding has a great personality too. My mare is pretty much a "mare" if you know what I mean. But the gelding has a huge personality.

  12. Ok, Ok, I will second what everybody else is saying :)It looks like the two of you--well I guess four if you include your sister and her horse!!--have been having alot of fun in this nice weather that we are having.

  13. Yep, I agree with those who say his groundwork included the lesson that tarps are not scary, but a place where you get to rest.

  14. Say what?? Now I'm dying to know!

  15. Maybe he thinks its a nice blue lagoon and he wants to go for a swim!!!

  16. He likes to stand on the tarp. That sounds like an intriguing thing. You just never know about horses.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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