Fake plastic trees

The other evening I was working Tesla in the arena - I was hand-walking her over the jumps set up in the arena, some cross rails, and there was one gate about 18in (so still plenty walkable). I had walked her over them the night before, easy peasy - in fact, she had initiated the game by locking on to the cavaletti and wanting to step over them (maybe wants to be a hunter/jumper?)

As we went towards the gate, she got one leg over, then suddenly had second thoughts, and scooted backwards, stepping through the gate, pulling it under all four feet. I released the lead rope to let her have her head and she untangled herself as the gate splintered into pieces. She started to bolt and I called out "WHOA" loudly but calmly, and she came to a dead halt and let me go collect her (whew for all those hours in the round pen).

I ran my hands all down her legs: she had a few scrapes but was miraculously unhurt. This is how that vinyl looks when it cracks: Yep: sharp daggers!


I picked up every shard in the arena footing - and then made Tesla walk over all the fences again, just to make sure we ended on a good note and that she didn't have any residual fear: that was a good move, as she was a bit spooky over the first few. I did alert the trainer whose fence we demolished - and I have replaced it for her.  She was very kind about it - and did explain that this sort of jump should be used with a pole above it (so the horse would hit the pole, not the gate), and that a horse had to have a lot of confidence. She picked out a new gate with smaller spaces - so that subsequent horses would not put a hoof through.

I was upset with myself for having put Tesla in such a situation - in retrospect I should not have put her over such a fragile jump at this stage in her learning - the poles are much better as she can knock them down with much less chance of injury. The following day we walked around the property, and I wanted to make sure that her confidence in me had not shattered like the fence.

As we were walking, a loose big dark horse came running towards us. Tesla went on high alert, jumped behind me, and then froze. The horse flew by into a patch of green grass, and the owner came running over to apologetically collect him. While the situation was scary at the time, I was very proud of how Tess handled it - she looked to me to protect her, and then we went on our merry way as if nothing had happened.


  1. Lots of learning going on. I know what the trainer said makes sense but I think that having such fragile material for a jump seems to be silly. Carmen will 'hide' behind me as well. Either she trusts me to protect her or she figures that the thing eating me will give her time to get away.

    1. Yeah I personally will stick to the wood ones after this experience!


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