Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blanket Games

Winston wears a blanket at night now that he has a trace clip.  Last year, when I bought Winston he came to me with a full body clip.  In January, poor thing.  He also came with a blanket that had lost its front clips so was tied shut.  We taught him to accept the blanket over his head.  It took one day, two training sessions, and I was slipping the blanket over his head, snapping the straps into place, and giving him a cookie.  January, February, March and April the blanket came off and on every day. 

I bought him a new blanket for this winter; one that didn't pull across his withers and shoulders.  It came with easy clips on the front so the first few times I blanketed him I threw it across his back like you would a saddle pad.  Then I pulled it down over his rump and forward over his shoulders, clipping it under his neck.

This past Wednesday was warm so I took the blanket off in the morning.  Brett did the evening chores since I didn't get home until well after dark.  I stood in front of the wood stove warming myself while Brett told me that Winston had been a total pill about his blanket.  He wouldn't stick his head through the neck hole and kept running off.  I assumed that Winston was objecting to some slight difference in style; some difference in how Brett and I hold the blanket.

Thursday was another sunny day so I took Winston's blanket off in the morning.  In the evening, I draped it over my arms and walked into the pasture to put it on.  Winston swung his rump away from me every time I approached his shoulder to swing the blanket over his back.  After the sixth time, I sternly told him to whoa and swung it up and over.  It landed, in accordion folds, across his back just behind the withers.  I started to pull the folds backwards over his rump and he trotted off.  I called to him.  He picked up speed.  He did a lap around the pasture then looked at his back in surprise.  The blanket had slipped but it was still there.  So he ran off again, at a canter, and threw in a couple bucks.  The blanket slid off and landed, wide open, on the ground.  Winston stopped, ears pricked, and sniffed it.  He lifted a hoof to paw at the blanket and I yelled Don't you dare!  He didn't. 

I walked into Winston's stall through his turnout with the blanket.  Winston followed me and I latched the gate behind us.  I swung the blanket over his back again.  He trotted into his stall and then out into the run-out.  Still there.  Back into the stall and a couple quick spins; showing off his fancy footwork.  The blanket slid to the ground.  What a great game!  Winston was immensely pleased with himself.  He picked up his grain bin in his teeth and swung it in circles.  

I picked the blanket up again, after buckling the front.  I approached him, holding the neck open and he shook his head no.  He wasn't scared.  He was having fun.  I dropped the blanket over my head.  I swear he laughed, then he took a step towards me.  I lifted it off my neck and dropped it over his head.  He was done playing and ready for the cookies he knew were in my pocket.

Last night, I was in the house with Camille who was recovering from having her wisdom teeth removed.  She was having dizzy spells so I didn't want to leave her alone.  Brett did all the chores.  He took Winston's blanket into the pasture but didn't approach him.  He told Winston he wasn't going to play blanket games.  Instead he stood still, a few feet away, and Winston came over to him.  Brett slid the blanket over his head and that was that. 

Sunny again today, blankets off, waiting for the next rain storm coming in tonight.


  1. This reminded me of a horse at our riding school in Stockholm, named Billy Boy. He loved to jump and once over the hurdles, he would stop dead, put his head down, and off you'd go. It was just a game to him and there was no way you could stay on. He did many other funny things too and Winston seems to have the same sense of humor.

  2. clever boy. just has to keep thinking, doesn't he?

  3. Smarty pants! Love your last shot today...I'm so anxious to have some sun!!!!

  4. Winston does sound like a smarty pants!

    I find I do have to "ask for permission" when blanketing too, but Val readily puts his head through for me... very convenient when it's cold and dark - less fumbling with the hardware. :D

  5. Stinker! Hope Chamile is feeling better and well, sometimes a horse hasta have some fun!

  6. seems like it's the season for blanket games

  7. I was grinning from ear to ear reading this. I love how you interact with your horses. LOVE IT!


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