The month of February was not a good month for making forward progress to our goal of showing Second Level in April. We had a solid lesson on February 9th, and then Mother Nature decided to be persnickety and throw every type of frozen precipitation at us for days on end. I tried riding one other day, but that ended with Ike’s hind end slipping out from under us and me almost sliding off with thoughts of broken bones and torn tendons flashing through my brain. So I hung up our bridle and hunkered down until Mother Nature’s mood improved. Unfortunately it took her almost 4 weeks to come to her senses as our next lesson just happened today, March 10th . Grrr, not amused.
Ike on the other hand, took the time off to engage in some extracurricular activities. The more bored he became, the more the extracurricular activities escalated. I thought I would share with you some of the activities in case your horse is still out of work and you need some ideas to keep him occupied.
1. Halter Removal – This game only works when at least one horse is wearing a halter. The object of the game is to get the noseband of the halter into the mouth of the horse wearing the halter without the halter breaking. I guess it goes without saying that it is also better if nothing breaks on any of the participants. Of course, this game is hard on the halter, so buy cheap ones since they will eventually fray and break.
2. Snow Angel – You try and make the most elaborate snow angel. This game requires some agility skills and the ability to completely roll over to obtain the full angel wing span. Ike, sadly, usually made a one-winged angel. This was his least favorite game and soon fell out of favor.
3. I’ve Got Your Water – This game involves trying to steal the water from your brother’s paddock. Each day, repurposed muck buckets of fresh water were set out in the paddocks in the morning. We came to realize that Mr. Giraffe could grab the handle of his brother’s bucket if it was set too close to the fence. Ike thought it was great fun to grab it and try to put it in his paddock. “Ha, ha, I now have two and you have none.”
4. Play With Me Now – The instigator stands at the fence line and must make mean faces at the other participant until the other participant relents and finally plays with the instigator. It also helps to stomp the ground and kick out your hind leg in disgust. Once both participants are engaged, both must show off their rearing skills in the icy footing. The first one to fall is the loser.
5. The Tree Removal Game – You find the one and only tree near your paddock and pull on the trunk of the tree to see how much of an angle you can obtain before the tree splits in two. So far a 30-35 degree angle is the record. Ike plans to parlay this game into some side work this summer working for a tree company.
6. Paddock Redesign – This is an advanced game that requires some knowledge of electric fences and how to test whether or not they are working. Beginners will need help from more advanced players to hone their fence testing skills. Once the basics are established, the object of the game is to remove a section of the paddock fence to create a “door” into the adjacent paddock. If the “door” is not fully open, you also test your jumping skills to avoid the “trip wire” still blocking the “door.” Once in the adjacent paddock, this opens up a whole new array of game opportunities…until of course you get caught by the warden…
7. Spring Fling – This is a bonus game if you master Paddock Redesign. It is also a boy/girl game. The object is to see how long you can play with the girls over their fence line until you get caught by the warden or you piss them off enough that they no longer want to play with you. Bonus points are given if you can avoid shocking yourself on their hotwire while you engage them in play or if you can create a “door” into their paddocks.
Phew, we went back to work just in the nick of time. I would hate to think what was next in line for equine activities…Trailer Pulling Contests or Hide and Seek, anyone?