Saturday, November 10, 2012

horse eating sled. . .

. . .turns out to be not so scary. Yay! 

Don't get me wrong, the horse eating sled was super scary at first. But only once at the first encounter did Shy back away quickly from it. I came prepared for this reaction though. . . 

Touch it!

Click and treat. Touch, click and treat. Then I moved the sled around. No backwards movement got clicks and treats. When I got no more high head and wide eyes, I walked Shy around the sled in both directions. Walking close to it got clicks and treats. 

I felt we were sufficiently prepared for the next step. . .dragging the sled. I try not to make the same mistake twice, so I knew enough not to hook the sled to Shy. I was going to drag it just in case she flipped out. That way, I could release the sled and it would not be dragging behind her in case she got away from me. 

I also opted to walk her around in her halter and not the blinders. I think she felt better being able to see that the sled was not turning into a horse eating monster as it followed up. This barn is great for different surfaces. There is grass, sand, hard dirt, leaves and gravel. All these different surfaces make different noises under the sled, which could cause it to want to eat horses, right?

As we walked around the barn, Shy was a bit leery at first, She kept and ear and an eye on the horse eating sled at all times. When we stopped then started, she got a bit jumpy, but not bad at all. Of course, I got all kinds of looks and stopped by a bunch of people asking questions. I don't mind answering questions at all and I love talking about Shy, so it was fun! I got a ton of questions about the G and H on her butt, what I was doing, Haflingers in general and some compliments on my harness and Shy. All the stopping gave Shy practice on her stand and when we started again and the sled started dragging, She was not jumpy after a couple times doing this. Eventually, she put her head down and just walked along next to me, still had an ear to the sled though. Good pony! 

Then I switched to walking on the off side of Shy. I wanted her to experience the sled on both sides. As any horse person knows, what is fine on one side may not be fine on the other! After the first few seconds, Shy conceded to the fact that the sled would not eat her and I just had to battle with being on the wrong side. Shy is a stickler for the "rules" and I really have to convince her it is okay for me to be on that side of her while we walk.

I was clicking and treating throughout our whole sled walk.  

I am very happy with how Shy is doing with her drive training! I feel like we are actually accomplishing something!


  1. Well done. Sounds like a really good day's work.

  2. Awesome, coupla more times and Shy can give me a sled ride :)

  3. Hooray for Shy!
    I find it hard to do things on the off side as I'm so used to being on the 'correct' side and my left hand is so uncoordinated.

  4. Great job. :D

    One day horse eating monster, the next - boring!

  5. Dragging the sled next to her is a brilliant idea. An empty sled is probably the loudest thing you could get her used it. After this a carriage will seem easy!!


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