Today I got to play with a new toy that I bought at the horse festival. A pink carrot stick.
What is a carrot stick? It's a tool often used in Natural Horsemanship that functions as an extension of your body. It's a long stick with a rope at the end that you can use to desensitize and reward your horse.
You use it to desensitize by whipping it (softly at first) on the ground near your horse. As your horse becomes comfortable with the sounds, you increase the intensity level. Your goal is to have your horse stand still, even though there is a loud whipping action happening inches from their feet. (NOTE: YOU NEVER USE THE CARROT STICK TO WHIP THE HORSE!!!)
You can use the stick to reward your horse by gently tossing the rope part over your horse's neck, back, tail and legs. To them, it feels like horse play, like another horse swishing them with their tail.
I've used Harmony Horsemanship's carrot sticks for years and tonight, I got to use my very own pink one to work with Pixie. It was so fun! And I got to add it to my sad, messy tack box. Why is it sad you ask? Notice what it's missing: a beautiful black saddle. Someday!
I had a great time at the horse festival this weekend. But the one hour I spent with Pixie after work was better than the entire weekend added up. It's so fun to see how far she (and I) have come!