Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Recently - With Nell
Nell was having some silly issues with fly spray, as I mentioned yesterday. Just downright goofy. So I realized it wasn't just the flyspray.... It's just that she is jumpy about everything. Fly spray is just one thing. A very silly little thing, but a huge big deal to her. I mean, a life and death, huge big dealio.
So I took the sceeeeeeeery, terrifying bottle of fly spray and a towel, and went into the round pen...... and basically did a sacking out.
"Sacking out" sounds so bad, like you're purposefully trying to terrify your horse and freak it out so it has a stroke or something. I have heard some people express the opinion that "sacking out" is cruel. It may have been cruel back in the day when "sacking out" included tying them up to a post and basically beating the fear out of them. (Yeah, like that can happen -beat the fear out of them? What were people thinking then?) That is cruel. Nothing I did with Nell with my harmless little towel was cruel, though.
First I worked her in the pen, and did some flexing with her.
Then, I put her on my 14 ft. lead and I just started flipping the towel about, and around her; touching her with it. Of course she shied or bolted away to the end of the rope. I just kept doing it, and talking to her in a calm voice and pulling her in a little closer and closer.
Finally she stopped and let me touch her all over with it, under, around and even on her head. And she was very accepting of it. Then, and only then, did I break out the mean old bottle of flyspray.
And you know what? She stood still and let me spray her without moving away. I could see in her eyes that she wanted to but she was choosing to trust me and let me put that sceeeeeeery flyspray on her, despite her doubts and fears.
So now, it's the same thing every day for the next few days: repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat - till it's old, and boring to her.
Then we'll move on to the next thing; which will probably involve riding her.
Me, in my new OTTB Tee's shirt I bought on Etsy, with my "crazy", silly girl Nell.