Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Big day today: Levee learned how to walk through a sliding barn door and did it without argument. He currently lives in a long shed row type barn with separate runs for horses in quarantine. We've had a lot of rain lately and there was NO way I was trekking through knee deep mud to get to him.
Being well aware of Levee's issues with trailers, I was a little bit unsure of how he'd handle this newest task. Not only was the door narrower than the trailer he refused to enter, but he would have to step down to leave the shed. Surprisingly, he did it without blinking or stumbling. He took a minute to study the step, but didn't hesitate. He didn't rush through the door, he didn't spook... nothing.
He did, however, spook at the weed eater. He jumped 3 feet to the side and took me with him. Fortunately, my experience with the racehorses came in handy and I managed to keep my footing. A few quick hops and I had him back under control. My poor boyfriend was beside himself, thinking I was going to be dragged.
Once we got to the round pen, I let him trot, canter and buck around to blow off some steam while I brought in all my items to sack him out. When I tried to explain what sacking out was to my boyfriend, he just looked at me and replied, "Sack? But he doesn't have any balls! How are you going to sack him?" Heh.
We started off with a woven rug since I don't have a saddle pad. I let him see the rug and then I tossed it on the ground so he could have a go pawing at it. Then I rubbed it all over his body and his face. I laid it flat on his back and asked him to trot away from me so the tassles would flutter in the wind. No spook. I brought him back and began swinging the rug around, letting it slap against his rump, belly and legs. He was a little unsure of that, but he stood his ground.
After about 10 minutes of this, he got bored and started grazing as I was tossing the rug against him. I pulled a white plastic bag out of my pocket and started waving it around in the air. Instant terror. He took off, ran a few laps of the round pen and then his curiosity won out. He came to investigate the bag and upon finding out it didn't have teeth, settled down to graze again.
I rubbed it all over his body, fluttered it around his hooves and looped it through the throatlatch of his halter. Then I sent him away and let him trot around while the bag fluttered under his chin. He bucked once and that was it.
Next up was the rope. I looped a rope all over his body, flipped it over his head, let it snake around his legs, picked up his hooves with it, draped it over his back... not a single side step or spook. Nothing at all.
On that good note, we called it a night and led him back to his pasture. He had to step up to get into the shed and on his first attempt, he nearly fell on his face. At this point, I was expecting a spook but instead, he steadied himself, lowered his muzzle to the step and seemed to be thinking about it. On his second attempt, he very carefully picked up his hooves and stepped up. No issue, no hesitation.
I'd say it was a successful night. Once the round pen isn't so dangerously wet, I want to try some join up on him.