Just got into the house after playing with Dora in the arena. On the really cold days I play with her in the barn so this past week the barn has seen a bit of action.

Up in the arena we have four rotating top pedestals. Two of them have a slanted base and are very stable. However, these two swivel quickly, BUT one of them has pins in it to keep it from swiveling. That pedestal is used for introducing a horse to the rotating top pedestal. Dora loves that pedestal. It will rotate a few inches left and right. For Dora, a few inches means two steps sideways.

I introduced the obeisance about 10 days ago. She loves it. She goes to the big low pedestal, places her front hooves on it and waits for me to say, “Would you like to bow?” I bow while I’m saying this. She then looks for my hand holding the carrot between her front legs. I move the carrot back a few inches and her obeisance is lovely. She pops up on the pedestal and assumes the position several times throughout our session in the arena. I usually follow through with “Would you like to bow?” I figure I ask her to do things and she complies so it is appropriate that when she asks me to do something I comply also.

This is the third day of her learning the Spanish Walk. When I took her to the paddock yesterday she saw me asking Spring Song to perform the Spanish Walk. Spring did not have a halter on and I didn’t have a wand. The pony paid close attention to these details AND to the way Spring Song walked, not pawed.

The next Spanish Walk session with Dora was a few hours later in the barn. She had made tremendous technical leaps forwards since see Spring’s Spanish Walk.

Today in the arena I was able to walk beside Dora, start lifting my legs and Dora joined in.

Dora sat on the beanbag in the arena without having a wall beside her to help her line up properly and sit.

I’ve been working on helping Dora hold the toy in her mouth as opposed to tossing it. I put several different toys on the ground and learned that she likes holding the IKEA cylinder. We do this in her stall. The next step was for her to walk with the object in her mouth. This wasn’t coming along very well so I changed tactics and asked her to crossover her front feet to the right while holding the cylinder. When we do our cross-over dance she really likes crossing-over to the right. She did this happily and held on to the cylinder! Today in the arena I did a warm-up for carrying an object. I called to her and she walked to me. Click/treat. I did this several times. Then I placed the cylinder on the ground. She walked to the cylinder, picked it up and walked to me.

Next stop was the mailbox. She’s been opening it for quite a while, but doesn’t take the mail out and bring it to me. I often have to hold the mail pouch and then she’ll pick it up and toss it. Well, today she opened the mailbox, put her head in, brought out the mail pouch then carried it to me, holding it till I took it from her mouth.

Such a rewarding pony to play with! Here are some videos of our recent work and play.

Dora Sits

Dora’s Games

The Christmas Pony

The Christmas Pony Delivers a Present