Friday, November 6, 2009

Mental Hazard Training

After last week's tarp work, I've been thinking what my next step in Salem's "mental hazard training" should be. Thankfully, there's always a lot of commotion at the barn, so he's pretty relaxed even with cars zooming by, barking dogs running about, screaming kids jumping all over the place, turned-out horses bucking and cavorting, etc. Well, I was over at the Dixie Rumble blog and I found a list of "obstacles" found on a judged trail ride that one of their OTTBs (Rosie) completed. Ohhh, myyyyy goodness! I think Salem is damn near unflappable, but I'm not sure how he would feel about this wacky stuff --

1. Find the man hiding in the trees and ask him how many deer he’d seen today. (He was hiding by event # 6 which was a standing log jump…..he was in the trees as we sailed over the jump…tricky)

2. Turn on the forehand 360 degrees within a painted circle.

3. Remove clothes pins with ribbons blowing from trees and move them to another tree (not too tough but a little hairy with the flappy colors)

4. (OMG this one) Stay within a small fenced area in the formation of a Z…..pushing a huge white ball with a broom! You have to keep the broom and the ball ahead of you while you maneuver through the fenced zigzag.

She got a lot of praise for this! She was blowing, hopping, reversing, snorting…..but we did it!

5. Trot by 3 stuffed deers and shoot Nerf gun balls at them.

6. Step over stacked logs…or pop it at a walk (which is what we did)

7. Climb a 12 foot hill, quietly down the other side, then walk over a mattress, 4 foot piece of shiny glittery material, and then step on a plank of tin.
(She did a Rosie dance but made it through with a few extra beads of sweat)

8. The enchanted forest………..not so good. Had to walk through a large curtain of strung beads, listening to howling wolves, crows and goblin noises. Pass through a herd of goats and reach down into a crinkly bag of animal crackers.
Did everything but the beads.

9. Dismount, rub horse with a plastic bag attached to a stick, remount with out the horse moving. Fabulous job

10. Throw 3 tennis balls through a huge wooden horse’s mouth. Scary with the balls winging by her eyes, but we did all 3.

11. Walk across a board that teeter/tooters as they step on it. She followed my paint horse……she was a little jittery, but we made it.

12. Throw a lariat over a steer head on a stack of hay.

13. (OMG!!!!) Walk through the woods to encounter 2 huge Christmas blow-up figures with the motors buzzing to keep them blown up. She was a little wiggy…but we made it past them without incident.

14. (She was a champ at this one) Walk into a large pool of murky water. Have a long rope handed to you with a 4 foot blown up alligator attached that you have to drag behind you as you walk through the water!

This was tough for many horses!!! Rosie pranced through the water with that gator following her like she was in a parade.

15. This was horrible. They put 2 vertical posts 6 feet apart. 6 holes each side with pool noodles sticking out horizontally like wiggly posts. We had to walk through this (but there was no visual opening. You had to convince your horse he/she could go through these without being eaten by the noodle gobbler).. I had Brooke stand directly on the other side and slowly walk away. Rosie thought she was being left behind, so she only fought for a minute…..then charged through!

OK, this has definitely given me some inspiration! I'm not quite sure how everyone else at the barn would feel if I made an obstacle course like this one, though. Salem and I might be asked to pack our bags and leave!


eventer79 said...

Have you ever heard of Sporthorse Versatility? There is a woman not to far from us doing shows and clinics with it -- basically to help make sure dressage horses don't get stuck being useless ring prancers. You do your dressage test and then you do an obstacle course, much like the one you just described (although dang, yours sounds tough, but FUN!). I have not tried it yet, but it's on my list!

Anonymous said...

When I was reading this, all that was going through my head was "Lily would love that... and that..." haha, she's such an odd horse, but in a good way!

Oh, and it's too bad you're not still in the Chicago area, because at my barn we take it as a point of pride to get our horses used to wacky things. Everyone loves to trail ride, so we get 'em used to what we can at home!

Frizzle said...

Oooo, no, I haven't heard of Sporthorse Versatility, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Hhhmmm, maybe they should work that into eventing! I'm sure it would be right up your and Solo's alley.
Anni, your barn sounds great! Well, it must be, considering you haul all the way out there from Chi-town. I lived in Lisle/Naperville and I'm not sure if I would have boarded in Elgin -- that's far!
I'm trying to think of cheap (well, free) stuff that I could do with Salem -- any ideas?

eventer79 said...

Cheap stuff -- landscape timbers, dollar store pinwheels and other decorations, stuffed animals from the thrift store, pool noodles. Build mazes with staring animals, pinwheels and streamers (crepe paper) are great to add to poles and jumps, of course the tarp can be draped anywhere, crinkly rain jackets hung on standards and dragged off onto horse's head and neck while mounted -- yes, poor Solo wore a rain jacket over his head the other day just because I could.

SprinklerBandit said...

Oh! Your horse is named Salem. That's awesome. I wanted to name my girl that.

Sorry for the OT. I just found your blog...