That is why I decided this afternoon that Blu and I would go for a trail ride instead of working on the lead change ladder. We both needed a break from that stuff!
Blu was such a partner when I was putting on his halter. I stepped out side and he was halfway in Hoosier’s run-in stall. I called him and he backed around poked his head out and we met each other halfway. Like I said, he was perfect for the halter. Even though that is such a basic exercise, I appreciate that he does it so cooperatively and I will not be taking it for granted any time soon.
We went to the two barrels on the edge of my homemade arena. I directed him their from zone 5. I climbed on a barrel to play the squeeze game. I was patient and appropriate and he was getting quicker at keying in to the idea that I was sending him through the gap and not to the barrel. I gave him rest when he was lined up properly and with that patient, slowly chipping away manner, he understood it so much better and became less and less defensive. He also stopped and sidled closer to the barrel I was on—invitation? : )--several times. I rubbed him and rewarded him but sent him on again after.
When I stepped across to the other barrel, I gave him some time before I asked him to step under me. When I did ask, he was very soft and responsive to the line. However, once he had his neck under me, he took some higher phases to continue on. I just needed another step and I think he thought he was in place when he wasn’t. The main thing is that this is such a big squeeze game and he has been so easy from the start. Love it.We went on a bridleless trail ride. For the gate, he was quite dull. It is strange that having a bit in his mouth so quickly dulled him down. . . hmm, I must do better! Blu seemed pleasantly surprised when we continued past the driveway, but he got tight and tense when we were approaching the northern neighbor’s property, so we turned around and went to the south.
I played the sideways game on the fence with him. His sideways is not very nice looking. He goes forward and does not understand to move sideways with front and hind quarters. It started out with lots of blocking and what I was feeling like was noise. We did two lengths in this manner that antitheisized elegance and peace, then I decided I needed to do better at returning to neutral and staying quiet. Finally, we had breakthroughs. I gave him lots of rests—always when he was in the correct position or had moved together. At the end, he really understood to move the FQ and HQ simultaneously and he was relaxed. Phew!
We trotted home and I got down in the yard. He followed me at liberty to the barn and I let him clean up the hay room.
Natural Horsewoman Out.