Today the shavings arrived, 1250 bags to be unloaded. I put Solo and his friend inside the stalls about an hour before the shavings arrived. When the shavings truck pulled in, Solo and Waldo were given some hay to occupy them. The truck outside the window didn’t bother either of them, nor did the noise of the hay elevator right outside, but it took them a little longer to be comfortable with the unusual amount of noise in the hayloft above them.
As you can see, the hay and shavings are stored up in the roof, above the stalls. There were a whole pile of helpful friends unloading and stacking. Solo is used to people walking above him, but he is used to one or two at a time. The stomping around of so many pairs of winter boots on the wood made a lot of noise. To begin with the two young horses were anxious. They were walking restlessly around the stall snatching at mouthfuls of hay as they passed (never too anxious to eat….). By about bale number 200 they had both chilled out and were munching away. By the time we finished, the hay was long gone and they were taking a nap.
There are some young horses that I would not leave in a stall under such circumstances. If either of the horses had been panic stricken in any way, we would have stopped unloading and put them out in the paddock until all the bustle had died down. Every horse is different and I don’t ‘push the envelope’ with my young horses. For the most part, I find that an excited horse is a horse that is NOT learning anything! They have to be calm enough to take in what is actually happening, otherwise no lesson of any kind is being learned, the horse is merely being tortured by fear.
I banked on Solo’s love of food overcoming his anxiety regarding the increased activity and noise. Sure enough, Mr.. Piggy, given an edible alternative to “fright and flight”, takes the bait every time.