I had the wonderful opportunity to bring my friend (who introduced me to my husband and was my Maid of Honour) to the barn where I am keeping Ridley. We also managed to have it during one of our sessions with Tom! (see Ridley – an introduction for more info re: Tom)
Mainly because I wanted to show off a little (and because I am proud of my boy) we decided to start our session with.. The Tarp. If you were to ask Ridley, he would probably refer to it as “the evil horse eating blue crinkly sounding terror”.
Now we have done a lot of work with the tarp to get him to where he is today. Once, I couldn’t get Ridley to go anywhere near it, let alone anywhere near where it had been the week before. I have had him walk, trot and canter over a nicely folded up version of the tarp under a pole (and trust me.. this took a long time). But, as any horse person knows, you can take a few steps forward, and the next time its like you were standing in the same spot… or sometimes a few steps back.
Now, we don’t pussy foot around the issue when Tom is around for a session. We make it crinkle, drag it around, ball it up, have it follow him, have him follow the tarp, etc. He isn’t necessarily happy about this, but he starts better every time. We had a few jumps to the side, and a few snorts when he was feeling particularly brave. By the end of the session, I had him trot a cavaletti with the tarp under it! He may have stopped a couple of times right before the cavaletti… but we insisted he still walk over it. The important part was to have him approach (at least to start) in a nice relaxed pace with him engaged and in a nice light contact!
I don’t have any photos during (I was riding!) but I took a few after. Clearly the evil tarp took a lot out of him, but he ended the session all dopey eyed and relaxed.
I am giving this victory to Ridley.
Ridley 1, Tarp 0