Monday, August 18, 2008

Plastic Bags and Windy Days

I resumed by plastic bag training with Bombay. Today was different because we had unpredictable winds. Sometimes the bags were quiet and floated in the air, other times they rattled and bent the tip of my whip over like a fish on a fishing pole. I made sure that my horse had boots on to protect his legs, and I had a helmet on in case he ran into me in a panic. (I'm starting to think it wouldn't be a bad idea to wear a neck brace too!) First, I let Bombay walk behind me while I carried the whip in front of me, and then I turned to face him so that the bags were between us.

Lostine and Gabbrielle always want to get in on the action. They are much more comfortable with those bags than Bombay is. My son got a shot of Bombay's one bolt in which he ran around the bags. He stopped when I said, "Ho!" and I just turned to put the bags between us again.

He eventually accepted having the bags floating in and around his face, but denied me the right to wave them in the air around his body.

When the wind kicked in, he acted like the bags were going to eat him.

I ended by laying the bags on the ground, and having him stand over them. I then placed my hand on the top of his head and pressed down. When he lowered his head closer to the bags, I released. I continued to do that until he put his head all the way down and sniffed the bags.

10 comments:

OnTheBit said...

Yay for progress! And I love that your son got that camera because he takes such great pictures to go along with the tails of your training.

Jenn said...

Excellent progress! He still looks spooky about it, but at least he's listening to you.

Does Bombay have a special treat he drools over? I "bag broke" all of mine by filling a plastic bag with their favorites (carrots and peppermints) and making a huge deal about letting them know the goodies were coming from the plastic bag.

They now come running when they hear/see a plastic bag. Horses are so silly.

Andrea said...

Your son sure did get some great shots!! You are so good to work with Bombay like that! He looks like he is getting better. Those plastic bags can be so terrifying. I am with ya with the neck brace too~~ LOL

Flying Lily said...

He is such a pretty boy! Great work you are doing with him. Jenn's idea sounds really good.

Callie said...

Great progress! Silly freckled faced horse! Keep up the good work!

jme said...

i am so happy to see someone use protective boots on a horse for loose/longe work! and even better, i love that you wear your helmet! good for you :-) i used to have a strict policy at my barn about wearing a helmet and gloves for ground work... why take a chance, right?

so, i admit, i'm new to plastic bag training. as a dressage-h/j rider it looks a little freaky to me ;-) what is the objective of the exercise (i'm guessing there is more to it than just desensitizing the horse to plastic bags)?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

To answer jme's question, you can't desensitize a horse to all objects and all situations. The best you can hope for is that you can encourage the horse to be curious about new objects and to spook in place rather than bolting. It is also an exercise of trust. If you can teach your horse that if you say scary things won't hurt him, and they don't hurt him, he'll be easier to handle the next time he confronted with a scary object or situation.

Mrs Mom said...

Wow I miss a few (a few?) days and look at you two! Way to go!! Keep it up NM!!

Glamour Girl said...

Those photos are amazing. Bombay is simply amazing! Beautiful face!

Shirley said...

Good work! Love that Ray Hunt saying, make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard: Right thing- to stop his feet and face his fear, then you take the pressure off. Wrong thing- to run away from his fear and the pressure, which was simply shaking the bag near him. Well done!