November. 27, 2019 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Does your horse like his blanket?

My horse refuses to accept a turnout rug. I have been kicked several times and my hands have been burned because the horse bolts away from me as I attempt to put the rug over the body. He has pulled back and broken the tie several times. Please help me!

Monty’s Answer:

This problem exists worldwide. I should be clear that I recommend one never place the first rug or blanket on a horse that is tied up. It is also true that one should never tie up a horse for rugging if there is any anticipation of trouble at all. If one discovers a fear of the rug, then there should be no attempt to rug up until there is a certainty that all fear is alleviated.

Carry out all of the procedures that I recommend for the spooky horse, including Join-Up, training to the Dually halter , plastic bags on a stick and even a large tarpaulin. Once you are proficient in applying my concepts regarding spooky horses, then I advise you to repeat these processes until it is possible to cover the horse in a plastic tarpaulin without evoking spooky behavior. Anyone reasonably familiar with proper handling of horses can get it done in two or three half-hour sessions.

The Dually halter should be used to educate the horse to cooperate with the halter rather than resist it. Plastic bags should be presented to the horse so that he learns to relax, which causes the bag to go away. This should be repeated until several plastic shopping bags fixed to the end of a light bamboo cane can be rapidly moved towards the horse, stroking his body and legs and even up between the hind legs.

When the subject horse will allow the plastic bags to fly all about him and touch him over his entire anatomy, then one is ready to move on to the plastic tarpaulin. It can be rubbed over the horse at first, and even spread out on the ground to walk over. The Dually halter will greatly assist with cooperation during this process. At that point, one can begin to place the tarpaulin over the horse, first rolled up to reduce the stimulus and eventually wide open and tossed over the horse, the same as one would do with a rug.

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