Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bug Crazy Starry Starry Night

Bug Crazy Starry Starry Night

Cole and I went with Kevin and Starry on a ride yesterday evening. it was a very warm evening. All went well on the way out. We rode to the fallen tree—lots of fast trotting and a little cantering. Kevin wanted to see if he could clear the tree off the trail or find a way around it. He wouldn’t take my word for it—but as soon as he saw it he agreed. We needed professional help for this one—chainsaw and glove. It is covered with poison ivy.

On the way home, we intended to just walk to cool the boys off. Unfortunately, the heat brought out the gnats. Starry has a low tolerance to bugs, and he just wasn’t tolerating it last night. Kevin has him wear a full-face fly mask and drenches him in bug spray in the summer, but this was the first night we had bug problems, so he wasn’t prepared. Our quiet walk was interrupted by Starry continually trying to trot. It would take a while for Kevin to bring him back to a walk. Of course, Cole wanted to join in the act, and we started having issues.

Then, Starry took off running. That was it. Cole couldn’t take one step forward at a walk. I have spent too much time trying to get him to walk quietly towards home to let him get away with it. I could have fought him, but instead I hopped off, and we practiced our tricks. I had him put his head down, do the silly Cole walk and we did some parking out. It helped to refocus him, and after a couple minutes, I had him walking quietly by my side. It’s an unconventional way of doing things, but I find that it works the best for him.

I mounted to cross the river, but by then I had gained on Starry and he was in clear sight. All the problems happened again. I got off and we did tricks. It took even less time to settle him down this time. We didn’t do any parking out, so we caught up with them by the time we got to the street.

Back at the barn, I stopped to talk to some fellow boarders. Cole showed them his parking and bowing. One of the boarders was there on the weekend when the maintenance man was fixing Cole’s window. Cole was tormenting him by knocking down his tools and such. The boarder offered to help by holding Cole. She said Cole must have bowed for her 15 times, and since she wasn’t giving him a treat, he kept trying different variations to see if she would. His window got fixed and she got a good laugh.

Ellen said that Dante is not going to learn to bow or do the silly walk. She will teach him the “head down” trick, though. It is very useful at times. She taught it to Ranger, and it has really helped him when he gets anxious.


Camryn said...

I'll bring out the clicker & treats to play when similar things happen to us.

achieve1dream said...

I love your unconventional way of training!! That's why I love your blog.

I laughed at the story of Cole and the window. So cute! Clicker trained horses are the best.

I meant to say on your last post that you were lucky no bugs were out. Sorry they showed up so unexpectedly. I hate those gnats!