On the weekend, Ron and Bill helped me take the teeter-totter to the Farm Down the Road. We didn’t take the pole to place under the middle of the teeter-totter because I didn’t want too much movement as the horses stepped on it. Turns out the teeter-totter teetered like crazy! Surprisingly this did not bother any of the five horses.
We started with the young mare, PK. We turned her loose and placed treats on the teeter-totter. Even with a huge arena to distract her, PK stayed with the humans and inspected the teeter-totter. She sniffed the thing and found the treats. Each of the people took turns walking across the teeter-totter, first starting at one end, then at the other. We stopped on it, relaxed, talked, walked off. Horses learn many things through imitation and we gave PK many peaceful examples of us enjoying this new apparatus in the arena.
PK let us know that approaching it sideways was her preferred method of learning about this wooden object. She stood sniffing it, then sprang over it. Yep, she has been learning how to jump in the riding lessons! Never had a horse do that!
Since she liked the side approach I asked her to turn when she placed her front feet on the teeter-totter so that when she walked off of it she would actually take a few steps with all four feet on it. Slowly but surely I moved her towards the right end of the teeter-totter so that she walked almost the entire length of it. Then, the coin dropped in PK’s head and she happily stepped onto the tetter-totter at the end and walked across it. She was also able to stop on it, stand a minute and chill out.
The other four horses easily stepped up on the teeter-totter and walked across it.