Friday, May 8, 2015

Park that Horse!

When Pippi tore that Tendon a few years back (September 2012) I needed to keep her happy, but staying somewhat quiet. There were months of rehabbing, and since I had little knowledge of how to occupy a horse  that could not be ridden (not that I knew how to ride then) I treated her like I would a dog. (DUH!) And we played games.
One of the games we played was the "touch game". I would hold up an object, and when she touched it with her muzzle she would get a treat. I then placed it around the arena, and she would walk and find it and get a treat. We progressed to me throwing it, and she would follow. The hope is that she will one day bring the item back to me, but so far that is miss and miss. Another "game" was the "Park Game." In that game I make sure she is standing square, and then I ask her to park and not move no matter what. I tell her "Whoa" with my arms up, then I touch her on top of her head and say "Park" and walk away backwards. Every once in a while she may take a step initially and I have to do it again, but once she gets the message she stands still.(is this fail proof? NO, but most of the time she complies, she is a mare....nothing is 100%)  I can run around like a maniac, and she will stand. I can leave the arena and she will stay where I parked her. 

Ice pack losely strapped to hock. 
I can pack ice on a hock with polo wraps losely, and ask Pippi to park and she will not move a leg for 20 minutes!
On Saturday Pippi rolled too close to the fence, and in the process caught her hinds on the fence causing some gashes and some pain. Her left hock has had some heat in it, and so I have been forced to cold hose and ice it for the last few days. I am happy to say that I think the heat is caused by a golf ball sized bruise, but since her fur is bay there it is hard to tell. Either way the heat is slowly going away, and she has not been in any pain seemingly. That being said this is Pippi, so I don't trust her pain tolerance whatsoever as she is very stoic and wasn't even off with that tendon injury.


In the picture above Pippi has ice on her hock, wrapped with a polo wrap that is just tucked in. Even a small step would cause the whole thing to unravel, but she stood like that for 20 minutes until I unwrapped it and gave her the "release." She is not tied in the picture above, and doesn't even have a halter on. At one point she ran out of hay that she could reach, and gave me a look that clearly said "I' can't reach that so...." I kicked some over and she went back to eating. She took a good look at the contraption after I finished wrapping it on, lifted her leg but put it back after a reminder of "Park." 

I am so proud of my Pippi! The "park" command is really handy, and is a very good for a horses skillset. You never know when you might need to park your horse due to injury or treatment. Little did I know how great this skill would be, but I'm glad I didn't know what I was doing back then cause it turns out I really knew what I was doing. 

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