More Tiny Rays of Hope?

Work: day off. Rain.

Ramblings for the Day: Three new exercises introduced this week.
Obstacle Course
On Saturday, hubby suggested that we break up the laps of our walk with the weave cones or the reverse poles as we passed them. This went so well that on Sunday we created a second set of exercises and sprinkled them around the edge of the pasture. The idea is that just walking along gives Rodney too much time to fret, so instead he has the exercises on which to focus. You could see him getting to the weave cones or reverse poles and thinking, Ah yes, I know what to do here. He ended his walk on Sunday more relaxed than he ended the day before. Which of course was the whole point of teaching him such terribly simple exercises in the first place. It’s nice when a plan comes together.

Jog In Hand (jih)
If we ever event, we will both need to get fit. I’d like to have the option of doing trots sets on foot to mix up the routine. Plus, it’s new and weird and different without involving a saddle or bridle.

Cloverleaf Circles (clcr)
As part of the obstacle course, we (me, hubby & tractor) set four standards a square. We (me & horse) walk in through the middle, turn left, circle around a standard, walk through, turn left, circle, proceed until done, repeat to the right. As with the weave cones, the idea is to get him used to shifting his bulk. He got the idea after the first trip through, although there was a definite barnward bulge to the circles.

Three simple exercises may not seem like much to us, but that’s a lot for an herbivore. Swift processing of new ideas is not a required skill when your survival imperatives are Eat Grass & Run Away. Granted I have met clever horses but Rodney’s virtues lie in other directions. In general, Thoroughbreds were not genetically selected to maximize their problem-solving abilities. In specific, we have found that Rodney gets his knickers in a twist if too much comes at him too fast. Using his definition of what constitutes too much and how much is too fast.

Your horse: Clever Hans or otherwise gifted?

Categories: Groundwork, Horse Behavior, Horses

2 replies »

  1. Toddy (who was also TB) was always at his best when the questions came thick and fast. He had to process and that didn’t give him time to get belligerent. Kind of like the way deadlines motivate me. He was not the type who got ballistic if he wasn’t ridden for a few days, but when he WAS being ridden, you had to keep him constantly stimulated or there would be trouble. One too many simple 20m circles and he’d let you know, in no uncertain terms, just how bored and fed-up he was.

    Mind you I don’t consider him typical. He was definitely one of the most intelligent (and opinionated) buggers I have ever encountered.

  2. The smartest horse I ever knew didn’t belong to me (thankfully). He was a clever bugger who figured out early on that he was larger than humans and was not actually required to proceed as directed. He was bred and ridden by a rather well known, quite competent professional rider, but the horse ultimately proved too clever a Hans. She finally had to bail on him. Since he probably ended up in a can of dog food, I’d have to say, smart is as smart does.

%d bloggers like this: