There is a tool in every modern horse trainers arsenal called a flag. It is essentially a 12" square piece of fabric made of nylon or other suitably scary material affixed to a 3' long stick. There is something to be said about the new lightweight fancy ones. Especially if they make the right amount of noise. The idea is that they should make noise. Enough noise to scare the horse a little. Not the bejeezuz out of him, but enough to get his attention. It allows a horse, like a wild one, to face his fears and emotionally and mentally deal with something not normally found in the wild!
To think that up until recently, I never owned a proper flag. You know the super duper, hi-tech, lightweight, NASA designed flag with your favorite trainers logo on it that you can only buy from that trainer, because no other trainers flag will work. :) Nope, all these years I have been using a plastic bag tied to the end of a dressage whip and, hey, it worked.
But enough about me, as I said, tonight, Patriot (I have decided on Patriot, so just go with it), met "The Flag"! We have been working on our liberty exercises for the past few nights and I got to the point where I just could not stand it anymore!! I need to get that cut doctored. He has really settled in my presence, so I felt that I could finally introduce the flag without him testing the 6' high panels.
I started out just standing in his pen waving it around and getting him used to the idea. I then placed it on the ground in front of him and stepped back. He did what every good wild one does. He took about 4 seconds to reach out and sniff it and proceeded to step on, chew, stomp and bite on my very expensive, NASA designed flag. Hmm, should have used that old one. :)
After a few excruciating minutes, I retrieved my precious flag, dusted it off, checked it for ticks (just kidding) and started stroking him with it. Like on previous nights with the rope, I petted and bumped and stroked him all over head to foot, paying close attention to his face and ears. A few times, he found it scary enough to run off, so I sent him away until he turned back and faced me. It didn't take long for him to realize that the flag is actually boring. At this point, I knew I had him!! Success! It was then that I reached up, unbuckled his halter, placed it correctly on his head and removed all the forelock hairs from his ugly looking wound. I spent the last few minutes rubbing and scratching his ears, neck and face, ending the night with his head cradled in my arms. Whew! I feel better now!
Way to dark for pictures. Sorry!
3 years ago