We had quite a bit of fun today in the arena after I rode Zelador out back where he did a stag jump over a pole on the ground. What a devil! I stayed on, but my stirrup length was too long for such silliness. (A stag jump is when the horse takes off on all four feet and lands on all four feet…at least that’s what it feels like).
Back to the arena…Zelador’s piaffe in-hand is so neat. Got to film it! (Keep saying that!) Zeloso’s is coming along nicely. Whenever he offers a little “bounce” I reward him.
Bill fixed the middle note on the piano he created and both boys are doing well with their piano lessons. I’m sort of developing the “trick” where Zelador is on the pedestal which is about 15 feet from the piano and I’m off to the side (not near the piano). I do place a small treat (piece of carrot) on the first key I want him to play and I ask him to play the piano. Some day he’ll walk to the piano, play the three notes and come over to me.
Zeloso is also very good at the three notes. I have him about six feet from the piano, walking to it, playing and then he’s told he’s wonderful.
For the first time EVER Zeloso was on the rotating top pedestal and moved his hind legs, turning the pedestal. He moved in both directions. So, Bill has to create a second rotating top pedestal and then we’ll practice with both boys on them. That should be cool!
We got the DVD from the Grelo Farms Gala and watched it. The boys were great. I’ve come to the conclusion that the audience really likes singing “When You’re Happy and you Know it” so we’ll add a fourth verse. Now we need to figure out what “movement” should be in that verse. Several thoughts come to mind:
1. Answer the phone. We should be able to find two old phones that have the ear/mouth piece which the boys can pick up and give to us.
2. Toss the toy. We introduced this idea to them at the same time we tried “catch the towel”. Whenever I ask Zeloso to go to the mailbox and fetch the mail he tosses the mail about six feet forward when he gets up on the pedestal. If I use a specific item for tossing, he should figure things out pretty quickly. With Zelador all I have to do is praise Zeloso for doing the trick and I’m pretty sure Zelador will toss the toy.
3. It’d be really neat if I could get them to whinny on command. We could sing, “When you’re happy and you know it say hello!” Got to figure out how to get the whinny!
4. Tap the drum/play the drum. I should be able to get the horses to tap a drum…perhaps with a stick, not a foot.
We also practiced playing soccer with Zeloso today. He’s getting it! He’s giving very firm pushes that travel up to six feet. Bill walks parallel to him and a bit ahead. I didn’t put the halter and leadline on today and Zeloso was able to push the ball to Bill. In fact, up till today he’s only pushed the ball to the right. Today he made several pushes to the left.
We played soccer with Zelador yesterday without a leadline or halter and he did well, too.
I’ve started creating a pattern for Zeloso to travel in the arena. He’s at the far end, circling me at the canter. Let’s say it’s the left lead. When he gets to the middle of the arena I position myself and my long wand to encourage him to travel a short diagonal away from me to the wall. He’s now on the right rein. Currently he goes from the canter to the trot along the wall. Soon I can set up a little jump along the new line of direction and encourage him to keep cantering. This should result in a flying change.
I haven’t done this with Zelador, yet. That’s certainly on the agenda for tomorrow.
Little Marcus (one-year-old Dutch Warmblood weanling) is now working at liberty without his halter on. I’ve placed the BIG blue plastic tarp on the arena floor with carrot pieces on it. He’s brave enough to sneak a hoof onto the tarp to get a treat. I carry the tarp around a bit before I spread it out. It makes noises…and he’s able to come to me and get a treat.