Another steller week!
This week we continued with free lunging before each session. He stays in at night, so it’s a good chance for him to stretch his legs and get any baby stallion crazies out of his system before he works. Then we get ready at the bench with snacks and brushing, followed by tacking him up. We then do piaffe around the arena, and after that, free lunging on side reins.
Leo learned something new this week-how to work on a lunge line! We had just completed our free lunging on side reins, and Carole said to go ahead and hook him up to a lunge line, which he had never experienced. She said “Don’t hold on too tight, and make sure you don’t have your hand in the loop. Be quick on your feet, and keep up with him.” Different horses respond to their initial time on the lunge line differently. Leo’s father, for example, had a major meltdown the first time that he was on a lunge line. He careened around the arena like crazy. I haven’t seen other horses respond that badly, but with little ones you can never be sure. Well, as usual, Leo was absolutely rock solid. He never even flinched. He picked up his trot like he had always worked on a lunge line. He stood perfectly still while I switched the lunge line to the other side, and then cantered like a pro. Then we had more grain at the bench, with Kaylee on his back, followed by piaffing around the arena again, this time with Kaylee on his back.
So he’s doing great! There were two moments this week that I really enjoyed. The first was yesterday, when we were working piaffe with Kaylee on his back. When we’re at the bench, she’s constantly patting him on his neck and behind, getting him used to contact all over him, which he’s totally fine with. When we’re working piaffe, she’s very quiet, giving him lots of time to just get used to her weight. Well, yesterday, she reached down to pat him after he’d done a good job, and he suddenly turned around and looked at her-it was like he’d forgotten that she was there! I love that he gets so focused on his work.
Today there was a lot of snow on the roof of the barn, and since the temperatures were above freezing, some of it was starting to slide off, making a lot of noise. A little bit of that happened while he was being tacked up, but he calmed right down and came back to the bench. There was a huge sound when we were doing piaffe with Kaylee on his back, and he spooked. But it wasn’t “crazy, forget your brain, and careen around the arena” spook. Just a little spook forward, and he kept looking around for where the sound came from. So I asked him to back up, and we continued on piaffing. He was a little excited, and started piaffing past me again, but we calmed down, and less than a quarter way around the arena, he was his chilled out self again. He was well within himself, focused and calm.
He’s such a great horse. I can’t wait to see what next week brings!