March 6, 2010

Cowboy Mounted Shooters

Before I got to the barn, I had planned to get the bit back in Shae's mouth and introduce him to the idea of giving laterally.  I'd love to round pen him, but the baby mustangs for Training & Handling I were delivered yesterday and they live in the round pen until they're gentle enough to be brought up to the barn, so we have no round pen to work in.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans: when I got to the barn, the Cowboy Mounted Shooters were in the indoor having a rally.  They rent out our facilities a few times a year, much to the chagrin of the school horses.  Cowboy Mounted Shooters wear period dress and ride at a flat out gallop down an arena, shooting rifles and pistols at balloons on cones which explode with a loud "Bang!"  The school horses are always terrified and Shae was no exception.  He tried to jump in my lap every time the guns went off.  So we did low-pressure things.  I turned him out in the outdoor again and let him play around.  He eventually did begin to ignore the sounds of the gunshots, but I still wasn't going to introduce something new in such a stressful environment.

It ended up being spring cleaning day!  Beth got True and I got Shae and we gave them both baths, then let them dry off and graze in the warm spring sun.  Shae learned the hard way that you don't play around in the wash rack when he slipped and nearly fell; he stood without moving a single foot after that.  It's interesting to me that although he is such a goof most of the time, when I introduce something new or challenging that he thinks is worth his time he stops and thinks hard about it.  Somewhere in there is a very intelligent mature horse, but I have a feeling it will be a few years before that horse makes his presence known.

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