A few weeks ago, Ron Marino and I started Pax’s day with a sit practice in his stall during which he received lots of treats. Pax had backed up straight and sort of bent his hind legs. He also moved his front legs a bit closer to his hind feet, but it looked like actually sitting was a long way off.
Sunday morning, December 15, Ron walked into Pax’s stall to put Pax’s winter coat on him. Pax politely stepped one small step away from Ron. Ron repositioned himself and Pax did the same. I was suggesting that we remember to practice Pax sitting on the mattress/beanbag chair when we switched his paddock in a few hours. When I noticed what Pax was doing I said, “Let’s work on the sit before you put his coat on.”
Ron set up the “chair” in the stall across the aisle from Pax, Blue’s stall. No horse had ever been asked to sit in that stall.
Ron and I fetched lots of delicious tidbits/treats (apple flavoured chunks, carrots and the always popular Stud Muffins). Ron held the lead line and asked Pax to position his right side against the stall wall. Pax backed up and actually bent his hind legs. And, before we knew it, he SAT!!!! Pax was totally content to sit there for many minutes. Ron got out his camera and I went from “director of the horse’s rump” to “horse holder”. After a few photos I handed Ron the lead line and he gave me the camera. At one point Pax put his nose UP and sniffed things on the other side of the stall wall.
We asked him to stand up and he did this politely and slowly. We asked for a second sit and he accommodated.
For the first time ever Pax’s slow eating of treats actually worked to our benefit. Zeloso scarfs down tons of treats, but not Pax. He laboriously chews one bit at a time.
Ron and I pondered this sitting stuff. Pax obviously loves sitting. His body must be quite comfortable in the sit position. We couldn’t help but laugh about Pax NOT allowing Ron to put his blanket on and take him out to the paddock. Pax was trying to communicate to us that he wanted a delicious treat-filled repeat of Saturday’s sit practice.
Who would have thought that there would be three horses sitting at Winsong Farm. We’ve ordered two additional bean bag “chairs” from Allen Pogue. Next step…take each horse to the arena and practice sitting. After that? Set up the chairs in the arena and bring all three to sit at the same time.
The photos show Pax with his first and second sit. They also show Zeloso sitting (and doing the BIG SMILE) in the new location. Our other and initial sitter, Zelador, is down the aisle in his stall waiting for his game: blowing bubbles.