Monday, August 4, 2008

Sacking out, riding, and pictures galore!

Friday and Saturday were both spent sacking out Boomer with a plastic sack. I tied a Wal-Mart sack to the end of a long riding crop and used it to shake all around and over him. I had the belly rope on to ease the backing response. He was afraid and I just followed him calmly around the paddock until he settled down. The goal was to shake the bag in a rhythmic way so that he would relax and eventually allow me to touch him with it. At first he was afraid of me holding the bag still, then he sniffed it and was afraid of the noise it made, then he calmed down about me waving it around but wouldn't allow it near him. Finally I made contact with his shoulder and he immediately overcame most of his fear! He allowed me to rub it and shake it all over his body, including his legs, belly, and face! John and I both repeated the process on Saturday with very satisfying results.

The reason this is an important process is because having a plastic sack, piece of paper, or other trash blow in front of, behind, or under your horse is not something you plan for, but something you must be prepared for. The hope is that in 'sacking him out' you will get his jitters out at home before you are out on the trail, at a horse show, or in any other strange location.

After John and I both worked with him we groomed him and handled his feet. We tacked him up and he bridled better than ever before! I longed him a bit and then had John put the tarp down in the paddock where we were longing. Boomer was unsure of what to do at first but then he walked, then trotted over the tarp with no problem! I was really happy with that because while feeding him on the tarp had gotten him to step on it, it hadn't taught him how to walk across it. After the longing John put the tarp at the entrance of Boomer's paddock so that he has to walk over it to get in and out of the paddock.

We worked with Boomer more on mounting and weight in the saddle and I got on him and had John lead us around. He lead us in both directions at a walk, making a number of turns and stops. Boomer was very calm about all of this. He was great at stopping, pretty good with turning, but didn't really understand how to walk without encouragement from John.

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