Friday, August 12, 2011

Nina, a tarp and me

I got Nina out this morning and trotted her around a little.  She is still just a touch off so I decided to pass on a ride.  A few people were playing with tarps out in the arena and I thought we might as well do something constructive.  One tarp was a dark, shiny green one, layed out flat on the ground with poles holding it down.  As we walked into the arena Nina's focus went to that tarp and her eyes never left it.  We walked up to it, I stepped on it, then stepped across it.  Nina took a very hard look, hesitated for a few minutes at the edge and then proceeded to follow me onto the tarp.
When her first foot hit it she flinched at the noise (tarp on sand), when her second foot hit it that was enough and she jumped over it, about 8ft.  She tried to avoid me, standing in front of her like a dork and just brushed me with her shoulder, knocking me down and trotted off.  She barely touched me, it was really more like losing my footing and sitting down than being knocked down.

Note to self: they are big, fast and have the reflexes of a bird in flight.  You would think after all these years that they wouldn't be fast enough to be a surprise, but no........

She went a little way around the rail and then stopped and turned back.   She got hemmed in by a horse and rider at that point and stopped.
I walked her back to the tarp and she wanted nothing to do with it.
So now I am kicking myself.  She trusted me enough to follow me onto the tarp and I did not do everything possible to make sure it went well.    I should have considered that jumping it would be a very TB thing to do.  That trying to jump into my pocket is a very TB thing to do.  I should have had a long line, stayed out of her way, let her jump and not fallen down and turned her loose - all of which surprised her.

On the other hand she went FORWARD to get out of the situation, she did not run backwards.  And I really have no problem with jumping a scarey obstacle.  Go event horse!
So we watched the others play around on the tarp, we played with another one that was wadded up on the ground.  She would walk up to the edge of anything and then turn her head away and practically close her eyes.  Maybe this will all go away.   She would also lash out with that lightning fast kick with a hind leg while glaring at the tarp.  That kick is a sign of utter frustration for her.
We did find that 4 geldings just walked right over the tarp and 2 mares thought it was the horse eating pit from hell.  The mares obviously had NO trust in the geldings blase attitude.

Stupid geldings, why would anyone follow a gelding?  (Chorus from 2 mares)

Eventually everybody but Nina walked over the tarp.  I put the poles away and left the tarp on the ground.  We walked around and around it and Nina accidentally stepped on it and froze.  Then she picked up her foot  s l o w l y  and inspected her foot from all angles and then the tarp where she had touched it.  She put her foot down, carefully not touching the tarp.  Then she looked at it again for a while, gave a big sigh and walked across it.  We walked all over it, stopped and stood in the middle.  It was a little scary from the direction that she had jumped, her head came up and the steps were quick the first time.  The next time was fine.
So she does trust me, she still trusted me even after we were nearly killed by the dangerous tarp

I nearly was eaten, I escaped by leaping, when I looked back it had Barbara by the ankle and was dragging her in, she somehow escaped and came and got me.

It took a while but it was a good morning.  All mistakes forgiven, treats for the big brave mare.


  1. Go Nina! That's awesome! I did something similar a year or so ago with my pony and he was pretty good about it... until I asked him to wear it. No thank you.

  2. I was just giggling and giggling! What a day! Great success!!

    The mares seem to be naturally more leery about strange things, eh? Then I bet there are more mares in the wild--ROFL! ;)

  3. I am so glad you managed to end on a positive note.


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