The other evening we had a group ride in the arena. Five people on their horses. We’re doing this so that at some future date we can create a quadrille.
After the ride I asked an observer, Barbara McKnight (Ciara’s mother), if she’d seen Zelador laydown. She hadn’t and wanted to. Well, I knew the conditions were right as far as Zelador being relaxed and a bit tired, but the conditions were also wrong because there were four other people on their horses and three of the horses were animals he doesn’t associate with in the paddock.
I removed his saddle, kept the bridle on and walked with him to the laydown area. He almost laydown. He brought those hind legs a bit closer to the middle of his body. That’s when I heard Ciara say to Ron who was riding BIG Pax to “stand still”. Apparently he was quietly practicing a few steps of the reinback along the south wall. He was the closest rider to us, about fifteen metres away.
Once Pax was still I asked for the bow (no wand to cue him, darn!) and got a lovely one with my hands on the reins. Then I asked for a second one and positioned his head to the right (I was on his left). He’s done the laydown from that bow position several times (over six weeks ago) with Rick Parker. Zelador understood what I wanted. I held a light tension on the reins and he sorted his legs out. He laydown. What a tremendous display of trust! Wow!
On another note, we’re having lots of fun with the “Easy” button. It’s a red button from a store. The buttons are located at the store and if you need help, you touch it and a helper comes. This button (it’s for sale at the store and Ann bought two of them) has a recording, “That was easy!” which you hear when you push the button. Well, every time the horses activate the recording I give them a treat. They LIKE that!
In the arena I asked Zelador to step up on a platform, then touch the button. “That was easy!” I then asked him to walk over to the other platform and stand on it and touch the button. “That was easy!”
We’re looking forward to developing a chain of activities for each horse which ends with the easy button.
This morning Pierre will bring his drum to the farm and this time we’ll give our “pawer” Kye a chance to play the echo game. Ann’s coming and with any luck we WON’T also have an earthquake!