Sunday 30 September 2018

Trail Challenge

Brain installation continued successfully this weekend. Sophie surprised me again by being an absolute star at our informal trail challenge.

I took her a little early so I could put her in the round pen to burn off steam, just in case all the obstacles plus the busy arena was a little overwhelming. That was totally unnecessary - she was definitely aware of all her potential new friends and admirers, but the initial energy she was giving off was that she was just curious and excited to see everything rather than scared or overwhelmed.

"They are making weird noises over there, let's go check it out already!"

And so, she marched right up to every single obstacle. My expectations were very low so I didn't really actively ask her for much, I just let her take her time and investigate thoroughly, then proceed at her own pace. Some things she marched right through without much of a look - the assorted poles, the bridge, some hula hoops on the ground.
"Let's go see the tarp thing!"

Other things needed a couple of minutes to process - the car wash tarp, the pool noodle gate. Her least favorite was a pit filled with empty plastic milk jugs. She was quite happy to dig around with her nose and push them out of the way, but really reluctant to step on them fully and it took a little bit before she was ok with walking through and squishing them.

"I am so good at this"

Her very favorite? A toss up between a punching bag type thing and a giant ball - she was killing me by pushing on the punching bag dude and then jumping when it swung back at her. Over and over. And over. LOL. I think this is a toy she needs in her paddock. The ball as well, she was right into pushing it around and chasing it.

I don't know if I can adequately describe how much I enjoyed her attitude today. So curious and brave! If she scared herself she basically spooked in place then wanted to see the scary thing again right away. She handled all the other horses and noises really well and I was very proud that mentally she stayed really tuned into me, especially given her age/greenness and all the crazy distractions. For the second day in a row, she was super polite on the ground and brought zero sass or drama to the table.
Patiently watching the other horses go.

I can honestly say if she was going under saddle I would have had no anxiety about tacking her up and trying the whole course mounted, she was being that brave and sensible.

Someone there commented "T, you always have the quiet, well behaved babies." Again, I was like "The Rotten Banana? We're comparing her favorably to Bridget's sensible self right now?!" I don't think anyone there believed me that she can be a bit of a wild child.
At home enjoying some well deserved treats. She likes apples now!

So, I felt a little like a fake given Sophie 's usual level of drama, but hey, I'll take the compliments she recieved as they were intended in the moment and cross my fingers hard that maybe all the hours of enforcing the rules and taking her places the past few months are starting to pay off :)

This metal recycling dude has been helping to make my horses bombproof since forever. He's NOT horse savvy, so can often be found throwing large metal things into bins or smashing things with his forklift as we go past. He's very nice and I actually don't mind the noise and clutter - it's good training for the horses :)


  1. These things make them such great horses when they grow up. We need video of her playing with these. I've not seen the pit of milk jugs!

    1. I actually can't recommend it, lol. I think the lids were left on a couple and they exploded and sounded like fireworks! I'm not sure if it was the age of the plastic but they shattered with sharp edges so we cleaned it up and disposed of them. I wonder if the the more cardboard type juice or milk boxes might be better. I'm totally getting video of her playing with the ball, tho - it's hilarious!

  2. Good banana! Great job with her so far!

    1. She's so fun, it's pretty easy to want to spend time with her.

  3. Such a good girl. The milk jug pit sounds like a really cool obstacle/despooking idea!