Horse Geniuses

Natty and Chance are soooo smart! I have been working with Chance on trotting in hand up and down the driveway, and he is doing very well (except when cars turn in – then he does rearing in hand very well – must work on this). Yesterday I turned him out in the arena and tested him on voice commands. He stayed right at my shoulder for walk and trot voice commands – didn’t pass me or slow down or swerve or anything! He also cantered on command, but he’s much faster than I am so he passed me quickly on that one.We did a lot of starting and stopping and changing of pace, and he wsa fantastic! This was the first time I ever tried any of this with him loose and the first time I ever tried to get him to canter on command. It’s funny, but when I try to chase him to get him to run, he doesn’t budge. Now I know he’ll move if I just ask him too. Good to know! I worked with Chance for awhile, and then I brought Natty in and tried the same thing. At first she was just walking behind me at her usual slow speed, but I kept rewarding Chance for trotting when I asked them too. It did not take my smart girl long to figure out how to earn a reward. Then I put Chance away and worked with Natty by herself at walk, trot, and canter. My formerly lazy mare is actually excellent at all this, and she has the prettiest extended trot 🙂 By the end, we could even go from stop to canter with no walking or trotting in between. All three of us worked up a good sweat, but I was so very proud of them for catching on so fast and still working so willingly even when they were sweating and blowing.  I think they might even have been enjoying themselves. Neither one of them can canter without bucking, though… gonna have to work on that somehow.Oh, I almost forgot to mention – they slow and stop on command, too! Always important.

On Saturday, I had Natty out riding around the pasture on the far side of the property from where they are turned out. The neighbors’ dogs came rushing the fence and barking while we were in a tight corner under a huge tree with a lot of low-hanging branches (still working on the steering!). I could tell Natty was afraid of the dogs and wanted to bolt back to the barn, but she very carefully walked out from under the low branches before she started to buck and canter toward the barn. She’s so smart! Also, she stopped the bucking and cantering when I asked her to even though the dogs were still barking. Later, I even managed to get her back toward the corner so we could get all the way around the pasture. The dogs came back, and she was still nervous, but she walked nicely along the fenceline. She’s such a good girl!

Chance was a big rascal. I wasn’t there, but I’m told he kicked the puppy while he was being led to turnout. They also said the puppy was being obnoxious and jumping and biting at the horses’ tails and he needed to learn, but I still hate that my sweet baby kicked him. He’s ok, and I do think he learned his lesson. He has been kicked by the llamas, too, so maybe he really learned with Chance. I don’t know when this happened, but it might explain why he left the stall and wouldn’t come back after Chance warned him that one night last week…I am thankful Natty didn’t get him because she really could have hurt him easily. I guess if he had to be kicked, it’s probably best the littlest horse did it. Poor little fellow though!

Sorry, no pictures this week – my cat chewed through my camera cable so I can’t transfer any pictures until the new cable arrives.

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