Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Blue Monsters Here

This is a picture of an area I had to walk My Boy through on Sunday, to get to the grooming area. Paint Girl had someone at her house finishing their bathroom remodel, and he had pulled his car right up to where I needed to walk my horse. Paint Girl's truck was on one side, the wood pile covered with a blue tarp covered was on the other. There was barely a three-foot wide pathway to weave through.

Yet, My Boy followed me through this seemingly claustrophobic obstacle course without hesitation and hardly a second look.

I credit this to desensitizing him a variety of ways with a tarp last summer.
Remember, the videos of my "tarp boy?"

I also credit playing the Parelli "squeeze game." In this game you send your horse in between you and an obstacle (a fence, for example) stop and have them face you, then resend them through again. You narrow the gap between you and the obstacle as they become more comfortable. This is good practice for walking a horse in narrow isle ways, through gates, in between buildings, etc.

I firmly believe you can never do enough groundwork, even with a nearly 15 year old horse like My Boy. The more situations, obstacles, and "scary things" you can expose your horse to, the calmer he is going to be.

Now, in the last two photos, I critiqued myself. I noticed that I could have done a few things differently in regards to safety. Can you guess what they are?


  1. We need to do a lot of work with my Tennessee Walker. He is hesitant and spooky about tons of things!

  2. Safety things...

    Too much slack in your reins while standing on the tarp. At a minimum you should have one rein slightly shorter than the other. And that first picture is should be your left rein. You should also be centered on your horse and not leanign so far forward, unless you have you right hand back on the cantle while the left rein has a loop in the mecate with the left side being shorter.

    A loop of leadrope around your hand. Also, My Boy’s nose was not tipped towards you.

    And my big one...no helmet :) But you are single without children, so I am not as much of a stickler on that one in your case.

    Bet yer sorry you asked now, eh?

  3. I didn't notice the loose reins, but I did catch the looped rope. And where's your helmet, missy?

  4. Yes I caught the too slack reins while on the tarp and the big no no was the looped lead around your hand! At least you had gloves on..those rope burns are horrible!

  5. The DOR makes me deal with a blue tarp daily, in fact the mother of all blue tarps is coveing the hay right by where I stand to eat. I still don't like them, I know it will eat me the minute I have my back turned.
    I am glad you are soooo brave.
    I have no safety tips that the others didn't catch.

  6. All i can say is that My Boy looks mighty good wearing that blue tarp. Is that the new style for rain wear?

  7. I noticed you said "Paint Girls truck"! I like it! Now just tell the boyfriend that! I am sure he wouldn't agree.
    Yes I noticed your safety mistakes. Everyone else already said them! Shame on you for not practicing safety! :)

  8. HELMET!

    Reins shorter

    Lead rope looks to be wrapped around your hand - big no no

  9. Okay, I hardly ride with a helmet, so, I guess I really didn't even notice you didn't have one on. Now my kids ride with helmets, but I don't. Strange, I know??

    But the last two photos:

    Second to last photo, I guess your reins are a bit long, but I am also used to riding with long reins. So, slap me there too, LOL. I will have to say the helmet thing.

    The last photo:
    The lead rope is not wrapped around your hand. Which for some reason people keep saying it is?? You are holding it fine. But the tail end of the lead rope is on the ground. That to me is a big no no.

    It will be interesting what you think is wrong with the pictures.

  10. I couldn't agree more, the more you work with your horse the better off you will be. No matter there age!

    The only thing I see is that in the last picture your lead rope is loped in your hand. That is bad if he spooked or set back he could break your hand, etc, etc. I don't wear a helmet, so I didn't even notice that until I was reaidng others comments.

  11. I would have never guess your horse was 15 years old, he thinks and acts like a five year old.


  12. Good reminders, PG. I remember the mystique you had about My Boy's magneticism to tarps. He's such an awesome horse for you :)

    My mare, Baby Doll is not a spooky horse and doesn't even get too concerned about plastic bags, either.

    She eats tarps for breakfast, though...literally!
    Her meals always arrive via a large IKEA blue tarp shopping bag. So I'm sure she equates tarps with good things now.

    We were in a field last month and it had been gusting wind the night before. Someone's extra large grey tarp had landed in that field and was still wiggling and shifting around.

    We walked right past it, without even a snort or raised head, and then I walked her right up and we stood on it. She was totally bored. lol!

    Since we have llamas, she's not worried about them either, but I wonder how she'll do with strange llamas out on the trail.

    Good advice about always exposing your horse to odd and strange things, PG!

    *the rope is looped around your hand
    *no helmet
    *loose reins

    You and My Boy look great, though :)


  13. OK...I think that you jinxed us Washingtonian's with your last post!!! Have you seen the rain that has been falling for about the past 15 hours now??? LOL!!!

    I am coming in at this game a little late, and I see that my guesses have all been "guessed!"

  14. The only thing that jumps out at me is that looped leadrope. Your horse spooks and decides to leave, your hand just might go with him.
    And, I totally agree with you on the groundwork - always good to continue with the foundation stuff.
    It's kind of like black pepper, you can never do "too much". :)

  15. Sorry, I have a bad habit of posting my comment and then, reading everyone else's.

  16. betcha' didn't know you'd be critiqued on that post huh!
    I try not to critique unless asked..then sometimes I still get in trouble for what I see!

    My mare does well with the tarp overlayer..but still won't step on it..think I will lay it out in her stall and she can decide to eat or not one meal!

  17. oh har..did not read the last line of your post..YOU ASKED FOR IT ALL!
    Here I was feelin bad fer ya's!


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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