Sunday, February 21, 2016

Training Fail

I had a complete and utter brain fart when it comes to training Gwyn. Thankfully things were not bad, though they could have been catastrophic.

When you introduce new things to horses you want to make sure you break it down into component pieces. As an example, you don't hook a horse up to a cart without making sure they're familiar with all of the little pieces (harness, something moving behind them, ground driving, pulling weight, etc)

In my excitement about having both snow and my skijoring harness, I figured I'd introduce Gwyn to weight.

I neglected to introduce her to something sliding across the snow when she moved.


Taking a nap in the snow. This has all since melted.

Looking good! We made it through winter fat and no ribs! Thank you LOTS of hay!

Anyway, I put the harness on her, I wasn't even planning to ground drive her, just lead her around the pasture with a slight amount of weight in Kaylee's sled and the sled hooked up to the lines of the harness.

We took maybe too steps and my mistake kicked me in the ass. She absolutely flipped out. And it's definitely my fault. She went flying up the hill, the sled flapping behind her, then down the hill and into the front pasture.

Saffron and I kind of looked at each other like... "Uh... maybe we should go after her..."

The small amount of weight I had used (my grooming box) was remarkably undumped, a testament to how quickly she bolted. I trudged through the snow, Saffron at my side, to find the sled in two pieces, and thankfully no longer hooked up to Gwyn. If I had attached it differently, it might not have broken the way it did. 

I left the sled and approached Gwyn and apologized. She was snorty but calm. The harness was still on her. I led her over to the broken sled and let her sniff. I took the harness off and did what I should have done first. I put the harness in the sled and pulled it beside myself while leading Gwyn back to the barn.

She calmed down immediately, gave it a side eye, but didn't do much more to be scared.

To further reduce the damage, I piled hay on top of the sled and led her with the sled into the arena. She was eating off of it as we walked. I think the damage was reduced...

We walked around the arena for a while and then, to salvage some of the time I had, I did some ground work to get her focused on me in the 'scary' side of the arena. 

So, thankfully the nightmares that flashed through my head as I watched her race up the hill did not come to pass. It's salvageable.

And there are no more sleds for sale and the snow is gone. We'll work on dragging a 2x4 board instead. And we'll do it properly this time.

1 comment:

  1. It's a good and bad thing that horses make it so clear when things are out of their comfort zone! Glad no one got hurt though and it seems like she figured things out despite the training mishap.