Floaty/Bendy Things and Hula Hoops
Profile of Opal.
Opal has been settling in well. She was eager to see me today as due to our house being under the weather (its July right, cold and flu season should be over shouldn't it?) I was unable to get out to see her the last few days. The herd she is in seems to have worked most of the kinks out. Opal and the alpha-mare even ate dinner together.
Today I took an old bareback pad and started putting that on Opal. We walked around the ranch with it. She didn't seem to mind it one bit. The reason I'm working so much outside the arena with Opal is she thinks anytime she comes out of her pasture, she gets to graze. This way she's not only learing what ever it is I'm teaching her, but learning she has to wait to play and have fun.
I've got this Mom.
Now, back in the early to mid 90's on our family vacation at Lake Powell, we encountered a storm. Now a rain storm at Lake Powell yields waterfalls where there were no waterfalls before the storm, so we would always jump in the boat and go looking for them. One year we found four or five of these "Floaty/Bendy things" (that's what we called them since we had not seen them before this point in time) they are also known as Pool Noodles. They are great for training. They are light weight, move when horses get lazy picking their feet up, make noise and are light weight. Its summer time, so why not break one out for Opal.
Now, Opal sees me as her security blanket, which I love, but when the world gets scary, she wants to nearly jump on me. Sweetheart, I love you, but you out weigh me by over 1,000 pounds, please don't squash me. Opal walked over the Floaty/Bendy Thing, let it touch her all over, sit on her, and didn't even bat an eye when the wind blew it off her. That' my girl.
Opal checks out the Floaty/Bendy Thing
Opal said this was a piece of cake. Next I introduced her to a big Hula Hoop. I let her sniff it and put her head through it on her own before I placed it over her head myself. She wasn't worried about the sound, or it being around her, or about her legs hitting it when she walked.
Hula Hoops, not on the scary list.
Next I added a second, smaller Hula Hoop and walked her around.
Two Hula Hoops.
Talking things at a slow, steady pace and not turning up the heat when she is unsure of what to do is the key to her success so far....that and the clicker and lots of carrots. When she is unsure, I walk back to her and talk to her softly, give her some loves and pats, then ask again. She's very willing and has come a long way in 15 days.