Puddles!

Shae was so frazzled about lateral movement that I gave him Sunday off and decided to ease into it today and make everything low-pressure.  I set up four poles in a row at a walk distance to introduce him to the idea of lifting his body and carrying himself, and after some warm-up I walked him through it, did a turn on the forehand in the middle of the arena, and walked him back over it.  It gave a purpose to the turns on the forehand, and helped him understand that yes, this is what he was supposed to be doing.  See, sneaking it in there.  He did really well with it too, performing good turns in the middle of the arena in a relaxed manner and not getting angry when he hit my hands.

Next, I took him out to the far end of the arena where a 15 foot puddle had collected in the low spot and asked him to walk through it.  We had about a minute of "WHAT?!  NO WAY!  You are NOT making me go into that!  What if it's ten feet deep and I fall in?!" in which he tried to go any direction but forward.  He's so agile, he can do things like lift his forehand and try and spin on his haunches, so I have to make sure I contain that energy and translate it into something I want (forward!) rather than something I don't want (rearing).  Anyway, we had our "coming to Jesus moment" and he finally put his gorgeous feet into the puddle and we just stood there.  He put his nose down, sniffed it, and tried to play in it, as if to say, "What, I wasn't ever afraid of this, just making sure you're awake!"  He did try to evade the puddle when we were walking and trotting through it a few times, but again, practical application of lateral leg, I shoved him over into it.  Ha ha!  Foiled again!

I totally understand where he's coming from with this "not seeing the point in it" business.  He doesn't want to work in the indoor, what's the point?  He gets frustrated with the basic building blocks of new skills, what's the point?  But when I put them in an exercise and give him a reason to use them, THEN it seems to come together for him.  I'm not trying to anthropomorphize him, I really hate it when people do that, but he's a pony that lives with purpose and these boring games aren't to his liking.

I'm falling for him.  Sigh.  How could I not?  He's everything I want.  Forward, brave, adventurous, interesting, but willing to let me take control and so responsive.  Built well, cute, gorgeous mover, happy.  He's even the perfect size for me right now, though he's become ever so slightly rump-high lately, so I have a feeling that's about to change. He's Chris's dream pony and I'd never even suggest that she sell him to me, but I'm so grateful that she's letting me keep him for the summer.  I wish there was a carbon copy of him out there, I've looked for so long for something just like him.  I'm going to look at his full brother, but something tells me this is a once-in-a-lifetime pony.  Price range be damned, I think I'm going to eventually end up with a Cob instead of a Section B.

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