My pony is a very fluffy New Forest who copes really well in winter – unless she gets soaking wet (she won’t do the sensible thing and go in the shelter to stay out the rain). Then she can occasionally get the shivers. Normally a bit of hay and she’s fine again, but as she gets older I’m assuming she will get worse. So I got her a light-weight waterproof rug just for the really wet days. The trouble is getting her to accept it.
I can put it on her fine, and last time left her in it in her field shelter with some food in the far corner so she could get used to the feel of it. The idea was she would have to move to get the food but she stood there still for half an hour. Every time she tried to move she felt the rug and just froze to the spot. Eventually we moved the food to just in front of her and she (eventually) got up the courage to put her neck down to eat it.
Obviously I want to get her happier with the rug so I could use it if necessary, but not sure on the best way to do this. I can rustle it and move it on her and she will tolerate it, but I need to get her happy moving in it. I think if I let her out the shelter with it on she would (if she got the courage to go outside) go berserk and run round the field bucking. Would anyone recommend this? I guess it could mean she would get the fear out of her system and learn it won’t actually hurt her?
Any advice on what you would do to get her used to it? At the moment I’ve been sticking with the putting it on her occasionally and rustling it whilst telling her it’s all okay. I’m a little worried to lead her out in it as I think she would throw a wobbly and career off round the field with the lead rope trailing after her if I couldn’t hold her.