Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Equine UFO's

Time for an Ennis update. Purchased this last summer, Ennis and I are still getting to know each other. But the getting is good. I have already ridden her more in the last 8 weeks than I did my last two horses in the last two years.


Because she is a better horse and I am a better horseman. "Better" meaning I am well aware of my limits and believe me...I am limited. Recently she and I have been working on the flying monster, the big yellow and blue kind.

Original to the Midwest, this particular UFO is often disguised as a kiddie pool. When filled with water and screaming children it offers no real threat to the equine but when empty and set free it becomes ominous.

To begin, we introduce ourselves from the ground

As non-threatening as Sweden itself, this used up Blue and Yellow Slip and Slide Pool waits for its next assignment. The horse in training is brought into the ring and introductions are made.

Ennis meet long piece of benign plastic, Plastic, meet horse, who is also a mare which means all bets are off. Please note Doolin the Donkeys role...STAY OUT OF THE WAY. If inside he'd be dragging the plastic around at top speed and horse would be flying through the air.

Then I allow her to investigate. No sudden moves. No scare tactics. It's all about trust here folks.

Next is gentle liftoff.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I was once elected May Queen. Circa 1966, Lady of Lourdes Church May Day celebration, Chicago. Thanks for noticing my Queenly Form. 
I'm the lovely brunette in the center
You'll also notice that neither the horse nor the donkey (not sure how he made it INSIDE the round pen) are completely ignoring me. So I up the pressure  a tad.
Now I'm getting her attention. So I play around awhile. Up goes the flag and down goes the flag, each time a little higher and I give her room to move applying enough pressure but not too much. The last thing I want is her trying to leap over the round pen.

Over time, she reacts less and less and in between the flight of the flag I approach her slowly but not in a sneaky manner so that soon I can rub her with the pool without HER taking flight. I also lounge her over and around it allowing her to crush it with her mighty hooves. We all need to feel empowered eh?
So there you go. Lesson over. Fear gone.
Horses, especially of the mare variety, are animals of prey. Big cowards. They will choose to run when frightened and it takes many many lessons like this. Many many wet blanket rides, preferably though huge fields overgrown with blowing blue and yellow swimming pools before Ennis will be acclimated to them.  She will also need to put her trust in me, something else that takes time. And just when I think she has conquered her fear, mastered her phobia...a RED swimming pool will blow across her path :)


  1. Thankfully it didn't rain when you were getting a rein on Ennis without a rein as you reigned the round pen like a May Pole Queen.

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  5. Amazing. I once had a ring sour gelding named Brutus spook while i was riding him. In a ring. Ahem. I kept him to half ring, just walking or a slow jog and gradually worked my way farther out. We had gotten to the point where it was the first time around hugging the rail, and he was doing beautifully. About three-quarters of the way through, he spooked. I don't know at what, but next i knew, we were going at top speed towards the fence, which stood about 5 feet high, and i was in a Western saddle. He stopped short, deciding not to jump, and by the grace of God, i stayed on rather than being catapulted ass over teakettle. He didn't run like a 23-year-old, i can tell you that! I also never tried riding him in a ring again.

  6. Hi Donna, it is good to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog today.
    You are a woman of many talents...my friend Mary could maybe use your services with her horse who just loves to kick everything to pieces, literally!?
    This was a great lesson and Ennis responded very calmly. Good teacher you are!

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