We’ve been busy learning how to use a video-creating computer program. As of noon today we’ve successfully uploaded to our Winsong Farm YouTube channel a video with Kye playing with the big ball and a video of Pax learning how to lift his front legs for the Spanish Walk. We have two more Kye videos (one with the instruments used in our Equine Orchestra and one of him at liberty) and two featuring the boys. With the boys each video starts with practicing the Spanish Walk in-hand (halter and leadline on the horse), then at liberty and finally under saddle.

We’ll get some footage of Z and Z doing their salutes.

I’ve started teaching them to take lateral steps away from me and towards me while I’m standing to the horse’s side (sort of near the withers/barrel area). I’ve seen videos of trainers cueing this with a whip above the horse’s back. So, I tried that (clicker at the ready!). Zelador stood still for a dozen seconds, contemplating my new body position and new wand placement. He shifted his weight towards me without taking a step. Click/treat!!! I then tried the easy direction (away from me). This time I placed the wand parallel to his body and pushed the air between us towards him. I was about five feet away. He slid sideways away from me. No problem, there!

I returned to asking him to step sideways towards me (wand over his back) and he actually stepped one tiny step in my direction. Click/treat.

With Zeloso I did something totally different. Don’t even know why I tried it. I started with the wand parallel to his body (horizontal to the ground) about five feet from him. I moved towards him and he stepped sideways and away from me. Click/treat. Then I stepped backwards, drawing the wand towards me. He stepped sideways towards me. Click/treat! What a pleasant surprise.

The next time I had Zelador in the arena I tried the Zeloso technique and he, too, grasped what I wanted and was able to shift away and towards me with the wand parallel to his body. Interesting.

This past weekend we addressed the dust situation in the arena. After talking with feed mill operators and searching the internet we decided to use Magnesium Chloride. Our indoor arena is about 18.5 metres by 36 metres. We bought seven bags costing around $22 per bag. The total cost was $158.20. We harrowed the arena, lightly misted it, spread the magnesium chloride, let it set for 24 hours, harrowed it in and we’re thrilled with the huge reduction in dust! We will be adding a few bags (one bag covers about 1000 square feet) on the near side where the toys, chairs, radio, etc. are because that area was over-looked during the first procedure. AND, if the arena gets dusty, we add more Magnesium Chloride. No more watering the arena surface (often on a daily basis in the summer), hauling the long hose out, getting ourselves wet, and our hands numb from the cold water. Can’t remember when I last spent $158.20 on something horse/farm related and got such satisfying/time saving results!