Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Educating Yalla! Sack 'N Spin

Have you ever heard of the toy, Sit 'N Spin?

Last Saturday, Yalla! played a new game called Sack 'N Spin.

I was mucking out stalls and the horses were all wandering around loose. Annie and Nadia were grazing some hay in the arena while Yalla! and Scout wandered into the barn to clean up the loose hay in the aisle and to explore, I imagine. I was dumping a load of manure along the arena fence line when suddenly I saw commotion in the barn. Scout came running out to the arena in a startle and I could see Yalla! in the barn, panicking. I couldn't imagine what had happened. I was horrified that she might have gotten caught up in some baling wire that my son often leaves laying around the opened bales.

Suddenly, she came bursting out of the barn. into the arena, past me, with a feed sack dangling from her mouth. She began spinning and spinning with the sack flapping and hitting her. She ran to the corner and began spinning again. Then she ran a hundred yards and spun some more. At first, I didn't know if the string was snagged on her chin or not, but I figured that she was probably biting down on a small end of the string, holding it in her mouth. She obviously didn't know that she could just open her mouth and the sack would fall free. I considered going over to help her out and decided that I wasn't going to risk getting hurt. I watched her spinning wildly and decided that, if need be, a day or two with the bag hanging from her mouth would certainly settle her down.

As soon as I was satisfied that she wasn't going to get hurt, I decided I would try to get my camera, wishing I had it on me. After several minutes more of her wild spins, she finally stopped spinning and running and stood still. She must have begun licking and chewing as she assessed her dilemma because the bag dropped softly to the ground. The party was over.

I think that she somehow picked up a piece of the string from the end of the empty sack while grazing and scared herself dizzy when it moved. And then, when she picked up her head, it followed her! She couldn't see what it was, just that she couldn't get away. Boy, she did some pretty rollbacks though, double and triple 360s! And slide stops too, as she tried to run away from it, into the corners. I was just glad I wasn't riding her.

I went over and picked up the sack. I walked over to Nadia who was grazing on some hay I'd spread out  and she didn't even lift her head as I rubbed her all over with it.

Scout startled a little at first, but I was able to run the sack over both his sides too.

Yalla! was still scared of the sack. I stood between her and the hay, trying to get close to her with the sack, and not letting her eat. She continued to blow and watch, just a few feet from me, as I stood my ground, guarding the hay and holding the sack. Eventually, she walked up close enough to let me touch her nose with the sack. Eventually, I set it on the ground and she toed it without flinching, as I fed her some hay. I didn't push my luck by trying to get any closer or rubbing her body with it.

Annie stayed 15 to 20 feet away from me, choosing not to confront the sack and not get any hay. She  rolled twice so she must have felt comfortable at that distance although I could tell she wanted to come eat, she just couldn't get over her fear. I didn't even try to get any closer to her. She gets upset too quickly.

There's always the next time. I hung the sack on the rails of the gate and went back to the house. I figured that the horses would be after the sack soon enough.

Next morning, I noticed the sack was at the far end of the arena, far away from the barn. I went over and picked it up and Yalla! began trotting and running down the arena towards me, as I held the dangling sack. She slowed down and drifted towards me in a drunken straight line when she saw what I was holding. She came right up to me, however, and nuzzled the sack. I was overjoyed that she made the advance to me, in spite of the sack. Again, I didn't try to rub her with it but I was pleased that she wanted to touch it. I am glad that she is such a curious, friendly horse. Hopefully, her mother's fear trait will get overpowered by her own desire to investigate.

So, again, there's always the next time. I have a lot of work cut out for me with this little horse but I appreciated her efforts to sack herself out. Maybe next time, she won't go so spin-crazy.


Dreaming said...

I wouldn't have known whether to be worried or laugh! I can just imagine her panic when that thing just 'hung around'. Sometimes our horses do get themselves into situations!

fernvalley01 said...

All before you could grab a camera too! Sounds like she is a pretty good girl over all figured it out in the end

Cheyenne said...

Horses are such crazy creatures at times! Pity its not on film.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Yep, definitely a camera moment.


Shirley said...

A self- sacking horse! From the way you described it, sh just might make a pretty good reining horse.

Paint Girl said...

Gotta love it when horses train themselves!! I can just imagine the whole scenario in my head!! Hopefully she won't have a fear of sacks anymore!!

Dunappy said...

Last year I decided to get the horses used to one of those Bright Yellow slickers because of the ACTHA rides. I just hung it on the fence, but Baby boy decided that ALL the horses needed to be "sacked out" with that yellow slicker, so he pulled it off the fence post and started flipping it at ALL the other horses. He's also done that with some of the feed sacks. All of mine think the feed sack is the place good food comes from. What you might want to do the next time is bring a sack and keep it by your side and rustle it every once in a while and produce a "treat" for Yalla.

Reddunappy said...

LOL silly girl!!!

achieve1dream said...

Too funny! I wish you'd had your camera too lol. I'm glad she calmed down eventually. She'll get there. She apparently has Annie's fear, but it sounds like she has what it takes to work around that. Good girl!