Sunday, December 14, 2008

More trouble blanketing my horse

Yesterday evening, several hours after I'd left from visiting my horse, the barn's owner called to tell me that he was once again having trouble catching Panama to blanket him. Since it was supposed to be ridiculously cold overnight — and even colder today — I went out there to help catch him and make sure he got his blanket on.

Blanketing Panama went smoothly last night; I did it myself since Rick's dogs had gotten out, and he had to leave to try to find them. But this morning Rick called to let me know that Panama had a strap hanging loose on his blanket, and wouldn't let him get near to fix it.

So I drove out to the barn this morning on snowy roads, to chase down my horse in zero-degree weather. Luckily he gave me plenty of exercise to keep me warm!

Recognizing that I needed to get Panama to the point where he'd let Rick catch and halter him, I decided to stand with Panama to keep him from running off while Rick haltered him. That didn't work out quite as I'd planned, however: Three times we tried that only to have Panama to bolt, and after the third time he wouldn't let even me catch him.

Panama has never before run away from me when I was trying to catch him, so I wasn't about to let him get away with it. So I started chasing him every time he would run. When he showed a bit of submission (usually slowing down — especially after he got tired — or the lick-and-chew thing Monty Roberts talks about) I'd ask him to whoa, and try walking up to him.

Unfortunately, Rick's dogs decided to join the fun, which gave me a break but wore poor Panama out. Eventually he decided this whole rebellion thing wasn't working out for him, and started showing less and less inclination to run from me when I tried to halter him. When I finally caught him, he was still pretty revved up, but with some patience I was able to get close enough to pet and halter him.

As part of his reward for allowing me to catch him, I held the lead rope and let Panama eat for five or ten minutes. Then I had Rick practice slipping another halter over his, just so Panama could get used to Rick handling him. I also discovered what had him so freaked out — Rick was putting one arm around the back of Panama's neck when he tried to halter him, instead of going underneath like I do, which made Panama panic. I pointed that out to Rick and we practiced a few times with him going underneath, until Panama seemed calmer and more amenable to Rick handling him.

Hopefully Panama will be better behaved tomorrow, when Rick attempts to take off his blanket!



At December 21, 2008 at 10:09 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

hey to keep those blanket straps from coming on done, buy a pack of castrating bands,( yes little green round rubber bands, for sheep goats and calves)at the feed store, about $4 you get a lot but that is the only way they come, put one on the male side of the buckle and role it up against the other wa la no more loose strap!

At December 22, 2008 at 12:51 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

That's creative! Will the rubber bands snap if he gets the strap hooked on something? I want to make sure it'll release if it really needs to.


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