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Re: [RC] ....speaking of training.... - superpat

All suggestions welcome....
I have a 12 year old mare whom I have had since she was four. She is an awesome horse with loads of heart which makes up for where she may  not have the toughest constitution. She has about two more 50's to earn her 2000 mile patch (with only one pull).
She is VERY reactive. Used to spook at any provocation. She is now a solid, easy to ride, fun, dependable trail horse. She will step over logs, objects on the trail, cross country through the most tangled mess up and down steep slopes. BUT...she does not do blue tarps. No way, no how. I have tried clicker training, John Lyons methods, etc.
I think I may have contributed to this problem as I was a novice with horses when I purchased her and tried to force her to accept the tarp by placing it where she had to step on it in order to eat or in order to get out of her stall. This only proved to her that it was a nasty thing.
I even hired a "trainer" who came with word of mouth credentials as a Parelli Natural Horsemanship trainer. He made some major mistakes with her and my gelding before I had sense enough to invite him off of my property.
I looked the other way since all was so well with her in every other respect. But when last summer, she refused to go by a large pile of construction materials which had been covered with a blue tarp, and it took me almost 15 minutes, dismounted, (on a very narrow trail with a bit of a drop off on the other side) to drive her past the obstruction, I decided that I had ignored the problem for far too long.
She was so terrified of tarp that if she spied it in the arena, she would refuse to enter without much prodding and then was a nervous wreck the entire time, seeing nothing but the tarp.
I began by tying a very small piece of tarp on the pipe fence of her paddock which is attached to her stall. she has to go into the paddock to get into the pasture. She made a prisoner of herself for an hour or so but then rushed by the piece of tarp in panic mode. Same upon re-entry for evening feeding. Over the course 0f several weeks, I added four more full size tarps which were tied so that they moved in the wind (of which we have plenty). Although she walked past them, avoiding contact, there was not the panic in her movement. After a windstorm, two of the tarps ended up half on the fence and half fluttering on the ground and she all but had to step on them to get past them. She is no longer in panic mode but when I was removing and folding one of the tarps and then entering her stall to enter the barn, she was trembling and cowering in a corner with "flight mode" written all over her body. At least I was able to walk past her without the explosion of escape from the stall that I would have seen in the past.
But I am at a loss as to where to go from here. I don't want to try to force her to walk on the tarp but I want to get past this block. Years ago, I was able to have her accept (grudgingly) my rubbing her all over with a small folded tarp. I can play all seven Parelli games with her, she is wonderful in all other aspects of ground work.
Any suggestions?
I really didn't mean to write this missive but one word just leads to another and so it goes. Fell free to reply privately if you like.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: [RC] Pleasure? Endurance?

In a message dated 1/20/03 11:44:58 AM Mountain Standard Time, superpat@xxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

Every thing, without exception, that you do while interacting with your horse is training him to be a better or less respectful partner. The more you can interact with your horse with this attitude the more pleasurable every ride will be. And you know what? I bet you train your horses every day but just may not name it as that

   Truer words have never been spoken...Good on ya'