Habituating Your Horse to an Umbrella
Just like anything you teach your horse, this too can be broken down into a simple step-by-step lesson that will result in a more confident horse.
- A horse that is moving its feet a lot during this lesson is likely to be too emotional. Try to break it down a bit more for the horse by making the umbrella smaller, moving it further away from the horse, slowing down your movements and so on.
- Once you mount the horse holding the umbrella, you are committed! Don't do this before you are very confident that the horse understands the lesson.
- It is important to practice throwing the umbrella to the ground a few times and watch the horse's reaction - any reaction that results in movement of the feet suggests that your horse is not yet ready to ride with the umbrella.
- Sack the horse out with the umbrella folded up as small as it will go.
- When the horse will stand still while you move around with the umbrella (keep one hand on the horse if necessary) then you are ready to make it more challenging - in a step-wise manner.
- Standing on the mounting block or fence is the easiest way to habituate the horse to having the umbrella above it.
- Throw the umbrella to the ground from above the horse and watch for movement.
- Don't mount the horse until you are confident that it will not move before being cued to do so.