Toys and Equipment

Pool Noodles and Other Training Equipment

I’m always on the lookout for cheap and fun items to use as training equipment.

My favorites are Pool Noodles.

They are an excellent way to get my horses used to things that move and brush against them.

Trigger is happy to eat his feed while these colorful noodles lightly bang against him and fly around on windy days.  This helps when I am out riding and we are moving through some thick bush – he doesn’t mind at all if branches brush against him.  He is also good when strange objects flap in the wind.

To get him used to the Pool Noodles I just started by tying up one (on a calm day).  At first he was wary of it but his feed was just there and it didn’t take him long to move past it to his feed bin.  He still kept an eye on it though!

After a few days he completely ignored the Pool Noodle so I added another and then a few more days another.  Now he is completely uninterested in them.

This is one of the best ways to get a horse used to something strange.  Introduce it gradually, into an area where they already feel safe and enjoy being (their feed area is a good place).  Allow them time to get used to the item.  Easy and no fuss.

6 thoughts on “Pool Noodles and Other Training Equipment”

  1. Hi Jain, I was womdering how I could the 24 year old horse I ride and look after to listen to me. He thinks he always knows best, even though a dream to ride. if he thinks its right he will do it. I was wanting to teach him a few simple tricks, but the trick would be getting him to listen to me. Any ideas? Thankyou x

    1. Hi Lauren. Trigger, my current trick horse, is an older horse and he had an attitude of ‘been there, done that, seen it all’ when I first got him. He was very set in his ways and not really interested in being ridden or working with me. I think he was a bit ‘switched off’. However this made him easy to ride and I find I can introduce new things to him and not much bothers him.

      With Trigger I found that trick training has really got his interest back. He thinks it’s fun and a positive experience and I find he ‘comes alive’ when we do some training. The trick with Trigger was to find something that motivated him (food) and to make trick training fun. I never scold him if he gets it wrong and I always encourage him to try new things. I make sure that I don’t practice the same trick over and over again, so he gets bored and I try introducing new objects (eg balls and pool noodles) to keep his interest.

      There are definitely some horses that are keener learners but the older horse can be a pleasure to train because they are more reliable and calmer. Work on finding something that really motivates him. Usually it’s food or maybe a pat or scratch. Some folk don’t recommend training with food but if it’s done correctly it can really get your horse keen on learning new things. Then use that motivation to train him and make sure you keep your training sessions short and always fun. That should get his attention. Good luck with the training. Jain and Trigger.

  2. Hi

    Do you know where I can get cheap pool noodles. My horse has a problem on the trail with brushy areas in rushing thru piles of brush and sticks. I saw your training tip and thought maybe this would help him to put a few in his stall for him to tramp on and they fly up and hit him in the legs. I would be supervising him of course and only let him w/them for short periods of time as he would probably start trying to eat them) Thanks Judy

    1. Hi Judy, Sounds like a great idea. He will get used to things around his legs in an environment where he feels safe, before you head out into the big world. Trigger and I live in Australia and I buy my pool noodles from a shop called Go-Lo. It’s a chain store that sells lots of cheap items. They are about $2.00 each and can be used for teaching your horse lots of different things. They are also available from pool shops but are usually more expensive. Good luck with the training. Jain & Trigger.

    2. Hi,
      In the U.S., we have chains Dollar Tree and 99-Cents Only that carry pool noodles in late spring and summer for $1.00.

  3. What a neat idea!

    I’ve been toying with the idea of constructing a car wash out of an old tarp.

    However, pool noodles would be even easier to set up and take down and would be easier for the horse to get use to at first. Thanks for sharing!

    cheers,

    Mary
    (who is now off to see if she can find any pool noodles for sale in December!)

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