One of my favorite things about Copper is how smart he is. Honestly, he’s never been desensitized to things like some other horses I know (like Robin…who is still terrified of all the things…). I never threw tarps over him as a baby or shook bottles of rocks at him to get him used to “scary” things. I just raised him with the understanding that he should trust me, which is ironic since I’ve struggled so much with trusting him, but that is another post (or two). Lately he and I have been getting kind of bored with our barn rides, as I expected would happen. He’s jogging as well as he can considering the footing and keeping himself in frame as well as can be expected with no more muscle than he has. So I’ve decided to start working with him on obstacles!
Last night was our first time working on dragging. He hasn’t ever been asked to drag anything, so I started slowly, leading him while dragging a wheelbarrow tire that I had laying around the barn. I plan to find a full sized tire soon (I’m looking at you, dry rotted spare on the horse trailer...) Anyway. The wheelbarrow tire still had the metal rim/wheel in it, so it made a rattly noise when I pulled it through the dirt- even better! It was noisy!
After leading him with the tire on both sides, I decided to weave it through the stirrup and see is that made a difference.
My horse is annoyingly calm. Just kidding, I’m totally fine with it…but I was hoping he’d at least be interested in what we were doing. Nope. Just normal walking from Copper.
A bird or bunny or tree branch waving in the wind caught his attention. But that was as exciting as it got. I went ahead and tied the tire to the horn, and was paranoid that he’d step on it, so I watched his back feet cautiously for the first few strides.
I lifted the tire on the rope and tossed it over his back to drop on the other side, he just stood there while I flopped it around. So now we pulled the tire around going the other way with it on the opposite side of his body.
So basically, we never had a scared Copper moment, which I’m fine with. Now I want to cut down a little tree and drag it around. Of course I want to practice dragging things while I’m on him, but I rode him first, then practiced dragging instead of dragging, then riding. Silly me. Of course Copper gave me a little validation that learning had occurred. Licking, chewing and yawning, of course.
Here’s a gif to prove that we can trot and drag scary things!