Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pictures of Trigger, then shifting gears

Friday night, I went out to the barn to refill Trigger's baggies of feed.  They still had some of the trail obstacles set up in the arena, so I grabbed Tigger and took him to the arena to check them out.

First, I led him over to the pool noodles.

I tried marching him straight through them, but he wanted NONE of that, even reared up a bit.  So I gave him the opportunity to check it out first.  He's a very curious and smart horse.  So as long as he was either making forward progress oractively checking it out, I left him alone.  If he backed up or started spacing out, I tugged on the rope to urge him forward.  This actually worked out really well.  He checked it out VERY thoroughly.  He sniffed at the first few noodles, touched them with his nose, and stepped his feet across the first couple of them, but as soon as he felt them brushing his legs, he needed to triple-check that his data was correct.  He sniffed each color of noodle, sniffed a sampling of them from both sides, nibbled at one to be sure it wasn't food, and even flipped his nose under one and bent it upwards to reassure himself that they were REALLY bendy.  Once satisfied that they were harmless, he marched the rest of the way through without further hesitation.  I circled him around and led him through again (the same direction he'd already gone), and he plodded right through, no big deal.  I tried leading him through the opposite direction, and he had to check everything out again, though not quite so thoroughly this time.

Then I led him over to the ribbon-festooned pole-bending poles.  He again thought they were equine torture devices, but I let him sniff the ribbons, and rubbed his face all over with them, and then he figured they were no big deal.

Lastly, I took him over to the teeter-totter bridge.  He's already an old hat at bridges--he was good at them from his old house, and he has to cross one to get into the round pen.  He sniffed at it, but only because there was poop on it he wanted to thoroughly check out.  But then I told him to get down to business, and he marched right across it.  When it teetered, he seemed curious about why the ground just moved, but not alarmed, and he continued across it just fine.

So, my take is that if we had done the trail class cold, we would have FLUNKED it, but if he'd been allowed to thoroughly examine everything first?  He would have done just fine (well, minus the fact that I'm scared to ride him).

So, anyway, that's the last Trigger update for a while.  I'll probably list him for sale when I get back into town.  But for the next week plus, this will become a travel blog.  So if you don't care about my trip to NYC, skip my blog for the next couple weeks.  I'll try to blog throughout the trip, but can't download the photos from my good camera until I get home, so will only have iPhone photos in the blog during the trip.

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