I’m putting a lot of time and effort into schooling Rosie. I truly believe that the more work you do on the ground, the safer you are likely to be on the horse. And the more time you put into your horse, the stronger the relationship between you and your horse.

Horses are prey animals and this means they can be skittish. A new noise, a sudden movement or something new on the landscape can make them anxious. Or worse…can make a horse bolt for it.

So part of Rosie’s schooling is to get used to strange items. Confront them, sniff them and even stomp on them. For example, I put a blue tarpaulin on the ground in the arena and rattled it around. It made a noise that Rosie was a bit anxious about at first. But with encouragement and driving Rosie via the long lead rope I use, she confronted the tarpaulin. Spent time sniffing it and placing her front hooves on it. With a bit more encouragement, Rosie walked over the tarpaulin.

I then put the tarpaulin over Rosie, like placing on a saddle blanket and we walked around the arena. I knew it would fall off and Rosie needed to be able to deal with this without getting skittish. Then I made a tent out of the tarpaulin by placing it over some jump stands and Rosie decided to check out what this big blue thing was all about – and popped her head under the tarpaulin.

This big blue scary thing isn't that scary now that I've placed my hoof on it.

You think I'm scared of some blue tarpaulin? Nooooooo way.

And now let me show you how brave I am - it's hard for a horse to have the back hooves on something scary. But I can do it!

School's out so now I can relax and eat.

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