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Re: RC: Re: there's more to 'condition' than just cardiovascular
Great post. If you want a sane horse at an Endurance Ride, particularly
an Arabian, this is what you do. The trick is to get them to the point
where they are brave enough to be "curious" about new things, not
"afraid". Investigate instead of run away....reassuring and rewarding
them reinforces this behavior. However you must have established trust
and your status as herd leader first. Sunny's not quite 8 yet, and just
about bombproof because I did all the things you mention. (You should
have seen him the first time he saw "surf" at Myrtle Beach, SC. <grin>
Didn't mind the water, but the waves breaking over his legs were
Yesterday I spent 6 hours walking a trail over the mountains behind my
house leading Sunny who was packing the chain saw and equipment in two
old duffel bags slung across my saddle. Cut trees all day, even right
next to him with a chain saw, which he generally ignored. Never tied
him, just drop the lead rope...he lowers his head and takes a nap while
I'm clearing. When a large tree top makes a big "crash", he will
startle, then give me this pained look and go back to sleep. He doesn't
browse on the shrubbery or stomp around. Once I was about 10 yards up
the hill in front of him cutting a section out of a LARGE tree. When it
came free, it rolled down the hill toward Sunny, stopping just before it
got to his front feet. He never moved...just snorted as it rolled
toward him. I honestly belive he would have tried to jump over it had
it kept going. I was the one about to panic!
Interesting thing...I have discovered that using him this way and having
the duffel bags bang into things and rub against trees has taught him to
"recognize" that when something is on his back, including me, to assume
it's wider than he is....no more bumped knees! I can also throw any old
thing up there, even things that clank and rattle and he just ignores
it, including a plastic bag full of cans and bottles I sometimes pick up
along the trail.
I carry along a small backpack (one that folds up into a fanny pack)
when I'm going to be out a long time (more than 2-3 hours) conditioning
or clearing trail. I carry hay in the upper pack and carrots and apples
in the fanny pack section. A horse has a very small stomach, and there
is little or no forage in the forest. His temperament and attitude are
much better when I let him eat after about three hours. I guess we all
get kinda of grumpy when our stomach is growling! This has the the
added benefit of getting him used to "finding" hay in strange
places.....think "Vet Check". Well worth the effort.
Jim and Sun of Dimanche
> In a message dated 1/31/2001 8:01:41 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> << 5. 'attitude' (manners, willingness, fearlessness) >>
> Any tips on exefcises for the non-cardio items
> (espec #5)?>>
> Do everything with 'em.
> And when they are good, or brave or willing to look at strange stuff or
> whatever your trying to get across to them that day, praise the HECK out of
> them, right there, when they do it. My young mare is convinced she is the
> bravest, smartest horse in the whole world, because I tell her she is every
> time she does something at my request that she REALLY didn't want to do. She
> just eats up praise. It's ALMOST better than food. jeri
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