Stubborn as a mule? No, a Standardbred. (long)
Wow. I spent over 2 hours getting my 6 yr old horse to walk over a rolled up trampoline tarp today. After 1/2 hour max, the fear was certainly all gone I knew that, but it didn't help me to get her to move her front feet over it. Another 1/2 hr, I could do just about anything with the tarp: throw it around, touch her anywhere with it standing still or walking, put it between her legs and get her to walk her back feet over it, but those front feet were NOT going to go frontwards or backwards over the tarp. She was just being stubborn, but how to prove it? And how to fix it?
So, I put the tarp in the doorway of the barn and she walked over it as easy as pie. In ONE direction <sigh>. So around the barn we went, in one door and out the other, around again, in, out, repeat... After about 10 of those, I tried switching directions again and got her over it without missing a beat. So now I still had to get her to walk over it on the driveway. So I edged it around in the barn and further away from the doorway. Little hiccoughs, but she did it.
However, when that tarp was out in the open, back came that Standardbred mule! No way. Well, now I had her for sure and she knew it because not only did she refuse to walk over it, she gave me attitude. Well I got in her face and backed her and generally let her know I was all done with that crap. (I had done this earlier as well, but without the psychological leverage that I now had made.) This time, it worked.
I couldn't believe just how stubborn that horse could be. I'm SO glad I had this episode today because I now know how to out-stubborn her. Hopefully this spring is trailering time, so if I hadn't had today's experience I would have gone about it all wrong (for her). I didn't have fun, but it was definitely worthwhile!