It worked! Under the professional direction of Terry McClare our horses first followed the bikes around the arena.
In the morning there were ground exercises to work on moving the horses feet where and when we need to. One of the horses had trouble "changing eyes". He would get very worried when things moved from one side to the other behind him, so lots of work was done to help him get comfortable with that.
We broke for lunch of chili and sandwiches and hot coffee, which the dirt- bike riders shared with us while we all got acquainted. I must remember to ad a bikers raffle basket, besides the one full of horsey stuff, to the next event!! How biased of me!
We met the bikes on separate tracks. We trotted up behind them and passed them. Monty, my mount for the afternoon, was quite startled when the bikes started. It was a bit loud in the indoor arena.
We did most everything as a 3-horse group. Then we stood a bit further apart and let the bikes weave in and around us.
The day was a success in spite of the small turnout. Three horses were able to encounter dirt-bikes in a way that helped them gain confidence. The bikers learned a lot about horses that they didn't know: like how quickly a horse can bolt--when while trying to sidle up beside the bikes Monty suddenly exploded and I found myself on the other end of the arena in a flash. The tractor had suddenly appeared at the back door of the arena. I think it spooked him so badly because he couldn't hear it coming over the sound of the birt-bikes. He came back without a problem as you can see from the photo above, and we got our picture. And we all had fun!
And then of course, the META demo Bridge:
This bridge will be accompanying us to all the Trail User Encounters. It will be on display at Cabela's for the open house next Saturday too.
Stay tuned for a list of Encounters to be published in late January 2009. We will introduce horses to everything from Babies in Strollers to dog sleds, and non motorized bikes too.
If you are interested in hosting a Trail User Encounter Clinic in your neighborhood please contact me! I am looking for more venues. And if you're outside of Maine / New HAmpshire, I can hook you up with trainers in your area who could do the same thing.