Leo is Back!

What a great morning!  I got to Isaac Royal nice and early to find that Leo was already in a stall, so I didn’t have to go out and get him.  Perk #1-thank you Lydia.  Leo has been a bit of an escape artist at various points in his life, and being a 3 turning 4 year old stallion who has several related mares on the property, the time alone with no supervision would be a little too tempting.  So now he stays out with his buddies during the day and comes in at night.

The last time I really did anything with him was months and months ago-September, I think.  He’d had a saddle on several times, a bit in his mouth 3 times, and worked on side reins twice.  Then nothing.  Today, I free lunged him first, and he was completely cool.  Excited to work!  One of the things I love about him is that he doesn’t get stupid; he’s always within himself.  His spook moments are short, he doesn’t freak out about things, and he is very smart and chilled.  Then I groomed him and put his saddle and bridle on, and again, not even a blink.  He just kept contentedly munching his breakfast.  Then we free lunged him again with tack, and again, completely quiet with no bucking or silliness.  He just really wanted to work.

Since he was being so quiet, we put side reins on, starting at the very longest.  He immediately rounded and gave to the side reins, so that they were dangling loosely.  We then took them up by one, and he was still round and giving.  You could watch him trying to figure out where his back and body were supposed to be, but he never once came against the reins, and continued to move along at the trot and canter.  He’s just so smart. :)

We finished the session with piaffe on the ground around the arena, and again, quiet and within himself.  I was actually the one having the most trouble, because he was moving out nicely, but I was running backwards and having a dickens of a time keeping up with him!  So I used the voice early and often, so he couldn’t gather too much of a head of steam, and he was very quiet and responsive.  the only thing I even had to remind him of was to back up…and as soon as I reminded him, he did it right away.

We ended the session with Kaylee climbing up and sitting on his back while had the last part of his breakfast.  Aside from a little “who’s up there?” glance, not a single peep.  Just munching away on this breakfast, distracted by food and lots of patting and praise.

I am amazed by him.  I’m amazed that as a young stallion he is so well behaved and within himself, and that he has internalized so much of the early work I did with him.  I intellectually understand that work that you do with a baby is important, but to see that foundation still so strong after almost 5 months of virtually no work is amazing.  I’m once again convinced that Carole is a genius, and that she understands horses and how to work with them like to one else.  I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of me.

Carole took a lot of video, so I’ll post it soon.

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