For the past four or five days, I’ve been sitting around with a cold and a painful sore throat. Last I played with the horses, Ty (2-yr-old) was putting up a huge fight towards any kind of pressure. So much so that I was getting slight rope burns, even through my thick leather gloves. Whenever I asked him to go faster, he reared and spun at the same time or galloped sideways and put up a huge struggle for two hours straight. Pearl was highly spooky about everything (… everything!!), especially when I tied a plastic bag to the end of the “whip”. Why would I do that?
Well, when I first learned to ride, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when I was 5,
I went on a trail ride with my riding teacher. We went out into the desert-y landscape and suddenly a plastic bag stuck in a tumbleweed lifted in the wind just a tiny bit. The horse I was on reared straight up. I stayed on, but it was terrifying – for me, the horse, and my teacher. She said, “Those plastic bags always seem to move at the wrong time, huh?” And laughed a bit nervously, because she was just happy I was alright. Oh well.
So when I start a horse, they need to learn that it’s normal to sometimes get scared of something, but that they need to be able to come back off of that adrenaline and use their brain.
All of the horses get used to plastic bags until I can flick it everywhere and rub them all over with it. Pearl had been absolutely terrified of it, but today she let me rub her on the face with it on a windy day, which is… huge! Big deal! Big deal! Yay, Pearl! Horses find things less scary when they follow it, so whenever Pearl gets a bit too nervous to keep her feet still, I just move backwards and she walks towards the plastic bag moving around.
Ty didn’t put up a fight at all and cantered with very little trouble. The rest of the horses also did well… what a great way to be greeted back after being sick.
But let’s get to the good stuff. Today I saw an Echidna for the first time! Big, bristly, lumbering and peaceful – out in the paddock. He looked so cute with his pointy nose…! I, the horses included, stared as he made his way around in the grass and under some branches. I really wanted to take some pictures to show you guys, but by the time I sprinted to the house and back, the Echidna was gone. But it looks something like this: