We had another bout of rain this morning that left the arenas and turnouts soggy and slippery. So I took each of my horses and my friend's horse for a 20 min hand walk up and down the lane in front of their pens. Because Spice and my friend's horse Bodie are both experiencing hind end soreness issues we made wide turns at each end which caused our walk to become like long figure 8's. A pattern was born! And to help motivate the horses who are at present mostly left brained we stopped at the hay bar each time we passed it. Pause to take a bite and then let's continue.
I took the girls first, Spice and then Dove before handling my friend's gelding Bodie. Then I ended with my little gelding Cherokee. Wow as we made our way up and down, up and down, I had such great moments of appreciation for how easy my 3 horses are to walk with. How softly they follow and even when a juicy bit of discarded hay is in the lane they are easy to ask to continue. No rushing, or barging into my space; no pinned ears, stern corrections or ready to bite looks. Instead they checked in with me along the way and were curious about the objects we pass. In fairness to my friend's horse who was at first rushing, barging, pinning his ears, ready to bite my stick and needing a few phase 4 reminders, my 3 have had several more years exposure to Parelli. However it was also quite interesting to see how quickly Bodie responded to me. By the third trip he was softer, exhaling and chewing, was no longer rushing and then made the most lovely change of direction that I had to stop and reward him with a nibble on the new green grass shoots.
I ended "my workout" with Cherokee. He was a bit more cautious but soon relaxed and got into sniffing this and that. On our final lap he gave me the sweetest little ride to his pen. He was soft at the mounting block, walked off easy with hips swinging softly, and responded so lightly to my carrot stick as we rode up one rein style.
Wow we have ALL come a long way.