Rodney Is Awesome: Attack of the Swimming Noodle
After reading about a groundwork competition in France [Equifeel Championnat Départemental], we decided to try Rodney with the turn on the forehand in a circle. The idea is to put the horses forefeet (or hindfeet) in a prescribed area, then do a full orbit while keeping the two feet within the circle. We (the barn “we”) joined two swim noodles into a ~3′ circle.
I held it up for Rodney to sniff. No big deal. Since he has proven amenable about the noodles in the past [Noodling, Weekend], I upped the ante. Slid it right over his head. I do NOT recommend trying this with most horses. Previous Horse would have had a litter of kittens. Mathilda would have zoomed backward out of the barn before you got close.
As the noodle ring settled around his shoulders, Rodney’s head came up and his eyes bugged out. But he stayed put. Despite reservations, he let us spin the ring around his neck. We slid it back and forth. We took it off. We made him reach through it for a treat: cookie! going under weird thing! cookie … weird thing … maybe if I make my nose reeeeeally long I can reach the cookie.
He never got blase about a noodle in the air above his head, but he handled it extremely well. When we finally got back to the original exercise, it was a bit of an anticlimax.
Equine ring toss. Who knew.