A new horse on the farm is Pax, a five-year-old Canadian, owned by Ron and Louise Marino.
During one of our first sessions in the arena Ron held onto Pax while Zelador demonstrated his tricks, free longeing and pedestal work. Pax sort of watched…
One of Pax’s distinguishing characteristics is a relaxed lower lip. When you give him a treat you feel your hand disappearing into his mouth. Your first reaction is, “Oh NO!!!! I’m losing my fingers!!!!” But… that’s not what’s happening. Your fingers are SAFE! They’re not being sucked up between his teeth. They’re slipping between the lower jaw and that relaxed lower lip. WHEW!!!
Giving him a small treat (our usual treat size is one-half inch long) is challenging. We’re now at the point where we break carrots into three inch chunks. These are easy to feed to him and we’re very content to sit there with DRY fingers… waiting… while Pax munches.
One of the “rules” for giving a treat is: the horse is allowed to EAT it before you ask him to do something else.
Pax loves the cones/carrots. How he sees anything with that incredible forelock of his is beyond me. He thoroughly enjoys snuffling along the route of five cones.
Although we haven’t measured his hooves we suspect that he has the biggest feet on the farm. Socs (half Quarter Horse and Clydesdale) is a close second. Bill made a second low platform with the feet of these two critters in mind. When we first asked Pax to step up onto the platform, the horse wasn’t exactly sure what to do. But nowadays he seeks the platforms out and stands there contentedly. In fact, it’s not EASY getting him OFF!
Occasionally Pax drags his feet along the lip of the platform as he returns to the arena floor. Because of this, Ron will be creating a slight slope (made out of wood) from the top of the platform’s edge to the floor. Once the slopes (four of them, one for each side) are in place we can encourage Pax to step off and not worry if he drags his hooves. Until then we’re cautious because we don’t want him scraping his delicate skin.
We have done the Tellington Jones Equine Awareness Method exercises with his legs to help him feel where they are. That has helped!
When these photos were taken he delighted in stepping up on the platforms. Guess he enjoys being taller. For some reason it was particularly challenging to get him from the platform to the arena floor. Once we accomplished this we made every effort to stay AWAY from them.
Pax is a pro at the “around the arena” exercise. Two people stand on the centre-line. One person is in charge of the far end and one is in charge of the near end. Pax’s job is to walk along the wall, and, when asked, calmly change direction across the diagonal. Most horses trot off and take quite some time to WALK. When that is established the walk totally disappears when you ask the horse to go across the diagonal. Pax is the exception. He epitomizes the saying I heard in Tennessee, “Don’t walk when you can stand; don’t stand when you can sit; don’t sit when you can lie down.” This horse has a laid-back attitude.
When our session was over, the totally free Pax was asked to come with us to the arena door. While passing within mere feet of the low pedestals both of us called out, “Not the pedestal!!!!” We had to laugh! With every other horse we’re thrilled when the critter steps up onto one. But not with Pax. The temperature was HOT and we were DONE. The last thing we needed was a Canadian standing for an extended time on a platform!