Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Trying to convince a horse to drag a tree... not as easy as it sounds.

In my last post, I talked about our desire to train the horses to drag a tree behind it.
We want to ride the horses in, find a tree, cut it down ourselves, and have a horse drag it out behind him. I've never done anything like that with Sunny. BJ once tied a sled behind Bo the horse, and it didn't go very well. Bo was fine with the rope being tied to the saddle. He was NOT fine with that piece of plastic following him.

We decided we'd start with Sunny... Generally, he spooks less than Bo. (Unless there's an elk. Sunny doesn't like elk.) I tied a plank of wood to a rope, then tied that to his saddle. We walked all over the pasture. No problem. (Bo freaked out. He didn't like that piece of wood following Sunny around. We spent most of the time trying to get Bo to get close to the wood and the rope.)

I am not going near that thing, and you can't make me!
Bo eventually got to a point where he would walk next to Sunny while Sunny was dragging the wood. I decided it was time to move to something bigger, so I tied a log on. He did great with that. (He was a little uneasy, until I had him stop and look at it. I don't think he understands English, but I have found if I just explain things to him, he calms down. So I explained it to him.)

This is what Sunny and I were doing while Bo and BJ were moving closer and closer to the rope tied to Sunny's saddle.
This is the part of the story that shows how silly I am... What made me think this was a good "next step"?

There was a tree in the yard that had been knocked over by the wind. It wasn't TOO heavy - I could have dragged it myself, but I decided I could use Sunny's new skill to move the tree out.

I tied the rope to the tree. Made sure it was no longer attached to the ground at all...
And then I started leading Sunny. He was great, until the tree got caught on the gate. He kept pulling at it, but when it wouldn't budge, he started dancing... and rearing up... and I was standing at his head.

BJ videoed the whole thing... You can't see Sunny step on/kick my ankle, but you can see when I start hopping (and swearing, but softly enough that only I could hear it.) I can't get the video to upload... you'll just have to trust me...

We got the tree loose, and then Sunny pulled it the rest of the way, no problem.
Tonight, I'm hanging out on the couch: foot up with ice on it. It doesn't hurt too bad, but it is swollen and bruised looking.  A friend of mine shared this on Facebook (so fitting):

BEWARE: I ride horses, which means I own pitchforks, have the strength to haul hay, and have to guts to (work with) half ton animal after being kicked... you will not be a problem!

I'm feeling tough tonight. (Although I also just went to Cowboy Poetry, where one of the poets shared a poem about "Healthy Living". I wish I had a copy of the whole thing... basically it poked fun at the irony that Cowboys live outside in the fresh air, and think they are living healthy, because they don't live in the city. BUT they've all lost fingers, broken bones, and various other injuries. It's just part of being a "horse person". I've never broken a bone or lost a finger. I broke my nose once and now I've bruised my ankle... I'm not really tough at all.)

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