Marcus (who’s first birthday is August 3rd) has accompanied Kye to the arena at least four times. The past two days he’s gone there by himself.

The first day solo: all the work done was with the halter and lead line on.

The bridge has a ramp at both ends. This was the first pedestal-like obstacle we took him to. He was able to walk over it after a few attempts to side-step around it. Then we took the pole out from underneath the teeter-totter so that there was minimal movement on it. The teeter-totter is about five inches above the arena floor. The teeter-totter is narrower than the bridge and a bit easier to avoid. But within a few minutes Marcus understood that it was fine to walk on this, too.

Our third challenge was the low pedestal at the north side of the arena. He perfected his side-step to the point that we decided to bring out the really low square pedestal that Ron created for Pax during his vaulting act. We placed it beside the arena wall and watched the youngster avoid it. That’s when I realized I’d missed a step in the progression. We needed to lead Marcus along the wall. It was quickly evident that he’d never been led beside a wall. So, we took things slowly and rewarded him for standing beside it.

The second day: the halter and lead line still on Marcus.

He approached the bridge like it was an old friend and, for the first time, he got up on the north low pedestal. I introduced having him circle around me with me holding his lead line.

When we got back to the barn Marcus noticed Bill’s baseball cap on the door latch. He picked it up, held it for a few seconds, then dropped it. I tossed the cap a few feet and Marcus picked it up. We did this a few times. What a star!

Today I’m looking forward to reviewing his growing list of tricks and adding the big ball. I’m very keen to have him see the rolled up carpet!!!! I’m betting that he’ll give it a nudge and another new accomplishment will be added to the fast-growing list!

Almost forgot! His “Big SMILE” is coming along nicely. Currently he wiggles his upper lip when I ask for the Big Smile, then politely takes a small treat. We pretty much divide his rewards between treats and giving him “scratches” along his neck/near his withers/etc.