Goofing around with horses? Opinions? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 08:53 PM
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I agree with Brighteyes.

I do a lot of silly things (that could be super dangerous with a lesser horse) with Lacey because I know how she'll react and I know that she'll take whatever I do in stride. I think of it as "confidence building" for her since the silly things I do to her prepare for the silly things kids do daily (she's also my lesson horse) and they help her take strange, scary situations in stride.

However, I never let her get panicked. I only take her to a point where she's a little worried, then let her work it out and learn that she's really fine. It teaches her that I am in control of the situation and that she needs to be calm about stuff so I can "save" her. And, it's really helpful for times when crazy, out of my control, junk happens in life.
Like, last summer, at camp, there was a popped, super shiny, foil balloon that ended up on the trail (in the middle of a deep forest, who knows how it got there). We were leading a ride of 8 other horses with very barely beginning riders on board and I knew that the horse behind Lacey, and I, would go bonkers if he saw the balloon and cause the rest of the line to panic. So I had to figure out how to carry the popped balloon, out of sight of the horse directly behind us, while still controlling Lacey (which is a 2 hand job, at times). So, since the balloon had a hole directly through the middle of it, I put it over Lacey's head and had it around her neck for the rest of the ride like a necklace. She wasn't thrilled, but she's used to crazy stuff so she was just like "whatever" instead of freaking out.
There have been other times like that, and they've all ended well since she knows that I might do anything but that no matter what I do, she'll be safe.

I do think there's a level of "crazy" that shouldn't be crossed (ie, putting the horse in danger, causing the horse to truly panic and pull back/freak out) but I think little scares that are recovered from relatively quickly, are just fine.
The falling off thing seems a little silly, but if they enjoy that, that's their prerogative. Personally, I like it that Lacey takes it as a personal affront when someone falls off since she's only been fallen off of a few times, I feel that she works harder to keep me on that way, but if those girls want to fall off all the time...Whatever floats their boat...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 02-16-2011 at 08:56 PM.
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 09:03 PM
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My thoughts as well. :)

As long as they own the horses and are staying within the barn rules (behaving in a manner that will not harm themselves or their horses), they can do whatever silly things young girls can come up with.

When I was younger and my friends and I would go riding, we would close our eyes, drop the reins, and see where our horses would take us! (I was the one who was always peeking!) Not to mention that I would (at age 19) ride my horse out to her pasture bareback in her halter sitting backwards.

Blanket on the head? Great desensitizing, in my mind, as long as the horses aren't flipping out and flopping all over the place, which I doubt anyone would laugh at.

Falling off on purpose? Great way to learn how to fall safely. =P

I'm sure there are enough of us to be serious about our horses that there have to be some who like doing silly things. And personally, I don't think horses care whether they are treated regally or with silliness, as long as they are fed, feel secure/safe, and are healthy.

OP, I do get where you're coming from though. Try not to let it bother you and just enjoy being at the barn and riding! There's nothing better than that.

"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare

Last edited by IslandWave; 02-16-2011 at 09:06 PM.
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
I honestly don't think a blanket will hurt a horse... Don't we put tarps on our horses sometimes? If they get scared of the blanket, they will toss it off themselves. Blankets don't contain mental spikes and won't hurt a horse if it steps on one. I don't think these girls are committing a terrible sin by laying a blanket across their horses, as long as common sense is used. If the horse is acting crazy at the mere sight of the blanket, don't put it on. Very simple.
I see your point here, Brighteyes, but I think these horses are tied up while they are doing this.
Usually when poeple tack up, their horses are tied. While yes, a horse should get used to a blanket being around it head, the desensitizing should not happen while the horse is tied. If the horse becomes panicked, they could pull back and hurt themselves or others. I actually have seen horses freak out while tied and cross tied, and it isn't pretty.
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 09:08 PM
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I agree with Brighteyes. I have 2 friends I ride with all the time. We do some silly stuff on the trail like ride up on each other, turn around in the saddle, jump off without warning, etc. One because its fun, and two because I believe it is good for the rider and horse. I know how these girls ride, and I know their horses. I try to be respectful of other riders though, and if someone tells me they or their horse has a problem with the antics I quit. I also wouldn't do that with people or horses I don't know.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 09:25 PM
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^ Ah yes, that's another good point. They should not interfere with other horses/riders, especially if anyone's safety is involved.

"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare
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post #16 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A knack for horses View Post
I see your point here, Brighteyes, but I think these horses are tied up while they are doing this.
Usually when poeple tack up, their horses are tied. While yes, a horse should get used to a blanket being around it head, the desensitizing should not happen while the horse is tied. If the horse becomes panicked, they could pull back and hurt themselves or others. I actually have seen horses freak out while tied and cross tied, and it isn't pretty.
They were tied

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post #17 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 10:40 PM
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I do silly stuff with Buzz all the time, hes no worse off for it.

Practing falling off is actually really good, I don't do it but I see why you would, you want kids to be confident to get back on after a fall by practicing falling off they will know what to do when the actually need to fall off and will most probably get back on.

I ca hang my bridle from Buzz ears, when ever I put combo blankets on him I usually put it over his ear, it gets him used to stuff around his ears, if he doesn't like it he can easily get it off.

I can chase him around in the paddock, I can do what ever I please with him, I could probably go under his belly if I wanted to.

There horses would be used to all this stuff, ponies are very tolarable and can put up with heaps, saying that Buzz is a Tb and he still puts up with me :P
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post #18 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 10:48 PM
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I think the girls are just having simple fun. No harm done to the horse. If they break an arm they break an arm and they'll move on and they won't do it again, just as long as it's not their neck. We all do silly things. I never did this but a friend of mine would get on a barrel and try to jump on the horses back like cowboys and take off.
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post #19 of 23 Old 02-16-2011, 10:48 PM
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There is nothing wrong with those kids havin fun.

I sometimes get annoyed by immaturity as well, but then again I am told I take horses TOO seriously, so each to their own ;)

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
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post #20 of 23 Old 02-19-2011, 03:06 PM
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There is a line between acting "goofy" as desensitization and just being plain stupid.

If they are doing this, and the horse is reacting badly and the sit there in cackle as the horse actually believes something bad is happening, then there is no use to that. My suggestion would probably result in being sued in some sort, but it's just mean to be stupid like that.

But if it's reinforcing that a blanket is okay, which doesn't really sound like what they are doing from how you explain it.
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