Monday, January 9, 2012

Playing With Obstacles

I never mentioned what I did with Lilly on Sunday... I didn't want to work her after the tough ride she had with Alex, but I still wanted to go spend some time with her. A fellow boarder had the idea to gather up some scary objects and work with our horses to get them used to new things.

Both of our horses have a fear of things coming at their faces, so we selected a giant Parelli ball, an umbrella, and a big flag. Her horse is used to the Parelli ball, but I knew it would probably terrify Lilly. She's afraid of her Jolly Ball, so I didn't hold much hope that she'd be okay with a giant, green, bouncing ball either. It didn't take long until she was ok with it being bounced next to her and being rolled underneath her, but it took a bit longer to get her ok with the ball rolling right at her front legs. She never tried to run away and never pulled back, though, so I was quite proud of how brave she was.

The boarder's horse was playing "soccer" with the Parelli ball, but I couldn't get Lilly to push it unless it was by mistake. A couple times she hit the ball with her foot if I managed to be sneaky enough, but she wouldn't do it on her own by walking into the ball. I've tried to get her to squeeze through or knock over barrels with her shoulders in the past and I just can't seem to convince her that she can go forward. It's like she thinks the objects are stationary and I'm an idiot for asking her to run into things. Any ideas on how to get her to push things?

She was totally ok with the giant flag (parade pony, here we come!), and didn't mind the umbrella until I spun it like a top in front of her. That got the stink eye for quite some time, but then she got bored with it and tried to eat the handle.

We want to get a hula hoop, some pool noodles, and a plastic kiddie pool for our next adventure!


  1. Try having a helper roll it in front of her while she walks behind it. get her closer and closer until she hits it with a foot. Then maybe she'll realize it moves? Jr was reluctant to kick the ball too, but after several times I could get him to play soccer and he even realized that I WANTED him to kick it and he started to follow wherever he kicked it. Then it got fun. The downside is that he thinks EVERYTHING is kickable so we really fail at trail class! :)

  2. SillyPony... yeah, maybe if my friend didn't have her horse we could have conned her into kicking it with her knee or something. That would solve the ball problem, but I'd still like to get her to push through things. I think she's going to be impossible with the noodle wall...

    Terry, I know!! Next time we'll take pictures! :)

  3. Sounds like fun! I love finding new and different things to challenge the horses with.

    That's also hilarious that she tried to eat the handle of the umbrella. I swear, the first thing they think when they experience something new is, "Will it eat me?!?!". If it doesn't eat them, the next question is "Can I eat it?!?!?" LOL!

  4. Jen, maybe it'll be less scary if it tastes good? LOL