This morning Dominique was riding Zeloso and Zelador, once again, was waiting patiently on a pedestal.
Dominique rode all of the fun walk stuff I’d described to Sally yesterday. We also threw in a few hints at piaffe steps. Zeloso is at the stage where he happily offers diagonal pairs, but hasn’t quite figured out that the piaffe is a trot. He’s lacking the suspension.
At one point along the wall I asked for more animation. Zeloso quickened his steps and did a hint of the piaffe. I told Dominique to let him stretch and do a big, calm, ground-covering walk around the arena. Within a few steps of leaving the wall Zeloso trotted. Hmmm….
Dominique quietly brought him back to a relaxed walk.
As she approached the wall I said, “This time I’ll be quite far away from Zeloso (probably 15 feet) and I won’t need to ask for animation or get close and touch him with the wand. He’ll remember what we did at the wall and with me asking less, he’ll give more.” Sure enough, when Dominique lined Zeloso along the wall and assumed an upright sitting position, Zeloso responded with the piaffe! After a few steps we stopped him, gave him tons of praise and let him walk forward on a loose rein.
I said, “Last time during the relaxed walk Zeloso trotted. You didn’t ask for the trot. He was asking us a question. Zeloso wanted to know if the thing we wanted him to do along the wall was a trot. Our quiet, positive, reassuring response to his trot (instead of correcting him and hauling him back to the walk…sort of disciplining him) gave Zeloso the courage to ask his question again at the wall. The answer he received verified his suspicion!