This is just a short story about one of our early experiences with horses.
When we got our first horse, Bob, we had planned on keeping him at the boarding stable where we purchased him. Within two months Val and I decided that it would be better if we brought him home. At the time we had no paddock, no shelter and no hay or hay storage etc.
Three months later after a lot of work with a chainsaw, axe and post driver we had a paddock and a pile of hay covered with a tarp, but no shelter. We were also told that horses don`t do well on their own and we needed a buddy horse. So we acquired Wyatt, the buddy horse. Since it was mid March and quite mild we brought them home before we built the shelter.
After about two weeks all was going quite well. The horses were busy destroying most of the trees in the paddock and I had managed to convert the temporary/permanent plastic garage for hay storage. Then the weather turned cold and it started to rain. After twelve hours of steady rain it was obvious the horses were pretty uncomfortable and were getting chilled.
We had a blanket for Bob but nothing for Wyatt. I did however have a 6 x 8 orange, plastic utility tarp. It seemed to me that it would not be difficult to install some ties and fit it out as a rain coat for Wyatt. So after fixing Bob up I proceeded to go to work on Wyatt. This was all done with complete confidence and total ignorance of the nature of horses. Within 15 minutes I had Wyatt completely tarped up and he looked liked an orange Halloween Horse.
The next day the rain stopped and it warmed up. The blanket and the tarp were removed and everyone was happy.
It wasn`t until a week later that we spoke to another horse person and told them what we had done. They told me that horses were afraid of tarps and that it was dangerous to have one around a horse unless they had been taught not to fear them. I asked Wyatt`s former owner about it and was told he wouldn`t go near a tarp.
It was a year before we started finding really good information about the nature of horses and natural training methods. It was then that I realized that the ignorance was the secret ingredient. I didn`t sneak around the horse, and I was confident that he would be fine with it. Because I was confident, he was confident and in this case it worked for both of us. Now that I know a bit more about horses I know why we got away with tarping a horse, but I also know that we were lucky we had the right horse.
I wish I had a picture of Wyatt wearing his orange tarp. He probably wouldn`t like that image published.