Last Monday, Sue came. Our agenda is: the education of Zelador. Three minutes before she arrived the work crew pulled up to the arena. Their job is to install solar panels on the arena roof. Talk about excellent timing…
We chose to ground drive Zelador! Within minutes we were in the arena with Zelador looking “dashing” in his driving harness. All the windows are opened along both long sides of the arena. Zelador handled the placing of the extension ladder against the south outside wall. However, the human suddenly appearing, then disappearing as the man ascended the ladder was a bit much. Sue was ground driving at that time and she got to see a lovely capriole. I was ground driving when the drilling started BLASTING overhead. Zelador was very keen to see what caused the sound. The result was a leap and a spin with a WHOA!!!!! Sue pointed out: glad no one was riding him!
The good news is: subsequent movement on the ladder and repeated BLASTS elicited little, then no response from Zelador.
We did quite a bit of trotting. Surprisingly the human walks a bit slower while the horse trots and a bit faster when the horse walks.
Bottom line: it was a great session. So important to help the horse live through distractions! Sue noted: it is nice to work with a horse that can do so many different things (drive, liberty, in-hand, riding). As a result we are able to work with him in almost every conceivable situation.
Tuesday morning: it’s very wet here and the round pen (new round pen) is WET. But I took both boys there Tuesday for the first time and they were having great fun. One side of the round pen is near the paddock fenceline with tree branches overhead. Zelador and Zeloso morphed into giraffes and trimmed a few branches.
With all the rain the new footing was a bit deep. After of few minutes of the boys sinking into the sand I moved them to the roundish pen attached to the lower barn.
It is also very wet. However, they were able to travel one behind the other (at a walk), come in when called, change direction AND with Zeloso at the whoa I directed Zelador around him in a clockwise direction. Zelador asked if he should go counter-clockwise and I had to use my wands to direct him. All the wand movement just might have caused Zeloso to move…BUT Zeloso stayed still and Zelador listened to me and went around Zeloso clockwise. This exercise would have been oh so easy if there had been a pedestal for Zeloso to chill-out on. Two new pedestals for outdoor use are on the wish list.
Later in the morning I noticed one of the workers looking into the arena when I was playing with Zeloso. I invited the man in and sent him to the safety of the stairs. Zeloso showed a few things, then I fetched Zelador. Another worker joined us. Because Zelador had already had some exercise in two round pens I took a chance and placed the bean bag against the wall. Usually I need a helper because Zelador loves the bean bag!!!! However, all the previous activity had mellowed the horse. I placed Zelador on the pedestal and I set up the bean bag. I sat in it, getting the seat just right. I called Zelador to the chair and he was able to position himself and back into it. He was a smidgeon to the left, but this did not bother him. He was able to balance himself on the bean bag. The other neat thing is: usually I need to place the halter on his head to keep him from picking up the bean bag, but he was able to line up, back up and sit without me touching him.
I set up the retrieve over the jump. I came within inches of accidentally throwing the toy behind the kickboards…
My favourite part of our impromptu demonstration was when I held up two different objects and asked him to touch a specific one. I used the toy and the ball. I asked him to touch the ball. This time I held the two objects (one in my right hand, the other far, far away in the left hand) for quite some time. He put his teeth on the ball and held them there the entire time. No turning his head towards the toy. Yep, this horse does know the difference!