This morning before I fetched the yearling, Marcus, from his stall I set up the arena. We have a wooden cut-out bull. I moved that from beside the piano to the south wall, between a low pedestal and the teeter-totter. I brought out the blue tarp and placed it close to the tall pedestal (a new location for the tarp). I set a pole on the ground near the door to the barn so that he’d see it and have to step over it. The mailbox lid was open, ready for me to place a piece of carrot in it. I turned on the piano. I surveyed the playground. Yep, time to get Marcus.
I led him in, unhooked his lead line and he walked to the tarp. Weeks ago when I first changed its location he reacted to it. Now he looks for it, goes to it and eats the pieces of carrots on it. I called to him and he came to me, stepping over the pole. I asked, “Have you checked the mailbox?” He walked with me to the box and ate his treat. He headed towards the piano, sniffed it, walked on, got to the bull, sniffed it and at that point I called to him. He wasn’t afraid of the bull and the bull had reason to be worried about Marcus. The last thing I needed was the bull crashing to the floor…
I walked to the teeter-totter and he came with me. He got all four feet on it then passed the balance point. The teeter-totter changed position and Marcus stepped off. Soon he’ll be able to walk along it at liberty and not react to the ups and downs.
We went back to the tarp, up on some pedestals, over to the piano, played some notes then I took him back to his stall.
This afternoon I went to the gang on the hill. I took along one of my new plastic/rubber (?) buckets. I showed it to the five horses. Two of them took it in their stride. Three thought I was out of my mind carrying their soft toy in one hand and this strange thing in the other. I walked down the aisle dropping the toy into the bucket. I came back repeating the exercise, hoping each horse was seeing the bucket from first one eye, then the other. Teddy was very accepting of the toy with the bucket held underneath. However, when he dropped the toy the soft sound it made in the bucket caused him to move backwards. Hmmm….
Lulu acted like she’d played this new version of basketball all of her life. No problems there.
Duke needed a few exposures to the bucket before he could bring his head out of the opening in his stall door. Once he figured out the bucket was OK he enjoyed taking the toy and dropping it into the bucket.
Georgie (a mare) was very businesslike. She took the toy and dropped it into the bucket. No muss; no fuss.
Tilley moved away from the door and looked away from me. I rewarded her with a treat when she turned her head towards me.
I walked from one horse to the other about five times. By the end Tilley was coming to the door and putting her head at it (not out of the opening and into the aisle) for a treat.
I have four more buckets, each a different colour. That should keep the gang on the hill entertained for a while.