Friday, October 25, 2013

Rock Will Be a Certified Horse Trainer Soon

It's time to desensitize Gabbrielle again.  She flipped out when I handed her rider a helmet, so we've been desensitizing her to the helmet, even though she's seen it a hundred times before.  It turns out that she doesn't want it near the side of her head.  I sacked her out with the new saddle bags.  She didn't care about that.  I swung the helmet around and she tensed up, but didn't go berserk.  Then I brought out the plastic bag on a stick, had her follow it, shook it around at different intervals and in different patterns, and asked her to hold still and relax while I do it.  At the end of our session she let me rub the bag around on her muzzle, but nowhere else.  I quit there before the mare had a heart attack.

I restarted the process with Bombay.  He didn't care about the saddle bags either.  The helmet made him a little tense, and the white plastic bag brought out some explosive energy.  Rock began pestering us so I rubbed the bag on the end of my stick all over Rock's body, including his belly and hind legs, and all he wanted to do was eat it.  Whoever sacked him out when he was younger did a really thorough job.

Bombay and Rock are competitive with each other, so when Bombay saw how brave and unconcerned Rock was having that plastic bag rubbed all over his body, Bombay became more willing to stand still while I rubbed it on him.  I had to go slow, starting at the muzzle, rubbing the sides of his face, then the sides of his neck, then his back, belly and legs.

Rock kept grabbing the saddle bags with his teeth and pulling them off Bombay's back, so I hung them over my shoulder.  Rock then repeatedly pulled them off my shoulder, so I placed them over his back.  He seemed happy with that and left them alone.

The best part was when Rock took the stick with the plastic bag tied to the end away from me and began rubbing it around on Bombay's body.  Bombay held still for it, and with one hand free I was able to take a few shots with my mobile phone camera.

Here Rock dropped the bag and Bombay ran to me for protection.

Rock looks like a hobo here, running away from home with his saddlebags.

Rock made my job so much easier by modeling the proper behavior around plastic bags... well, except for the part where he tried to eat it and I had to pull it out of his mouth.  It sure was nice having him taking over the training session for me, though.  I wonder if Clinton Anderson will allow a horse into one of his trainer certification programs?


Katharine Swan said...

It may just be Rock's personality! Rondo has been perfectly okay with plastic bags since the beginning, and I know for a fact that no one ever sacked him out before I got him -- he was wild in a pasture until I got my hands on him. When my trainer tried to sack him out, she was able to even cover his head with the plastic bag and he didn't care. Panama, of course, being part Arab, has a genetic distrust of anything that rustles.

Cindy D. said...

OMG that is hilarious!

Sam said...

Oh too funny!

I'm taking Baron to a cow clinic tomorrow at Centoz Ranch. This will be the biggest thing I've done with him - wish us luck! :)

Mary said...

Rock sounds like my kinda guy! The more I read about him, the more I am really liking him. And a teacher too! bonus. Great post, you made me chuckle...Several times. I just started a new job on Monday, and I'm almost too tired to read, but I'm glad I checked in. :)

achieve1dream said...

That is so awesome! Rock is a good horse trainer. :D

That's weird about Gabrielle's reaction to the helmet. Chrome likes to play with mine. He is such a pest. :)