Since obstacles will be a big part of the competition, we have gotten started playing with things. When working with obstacles, my goal is to build curiosity first, then desensitization. I believe curiosity is so very important to allow to come up in horses. They really are curious by nature, and if you don’t believe this, then take a tarp and a large Rubbermaid garbage can out in your pasture with your herd and watch what happens. (These items should be horse safe, just saying…) At Aiken Horsemanship Academy we actually do this as part of one of our classes. It very interesting to see who explores it first, who waits to see if it’s safe after others have come up and who simply ignores it. Often the horses work by approaching and retreating, then their confidence comes up and they go back in for more.
So in the early work with obstacles, I am happy to report Moonshine is very curious. True to what I had learned, he is very sensitive to things between his ear and wither and worried about things down around his feet…not that you would guess that with him standing on the tarp in this pic. We are off to a great start with obstacles!