It was DRY, it was SUNNY, it was COLD! But I got out and worked Mary and Brego this morning even if it was cold.
Mary likes to rip around at the end of the line for the first little while but I got her to walk nicely at the end of the line on her blind side very while Brego ate his breakfast. I always work her while he is eating so he can't slip her fat little butt food. A good hard run for 15 minutes would do her body more good but a nice walk for 15 minutes does more for her mind.
I waited until just before his lunch to work Brego. He was starting to look at me with a wary eye when I came to him with his halter in my hands because I leave him naked except when it is time to work. I never put a halter and lead on him while I groom him or oil his feather or spray his legs with Listerine. So I started to halter him before I feed him for no good reason aside from making it so he never knows if the halter means food or work and he doesn't try to walk away when I head his direction with it in my hands. Anyway, I like to end his work out with a spot of lunch (half pound or so of his feed) just so the last thing he remember from our time together is that I fed him. The way to a horse's heart is through his stomach, ya know!
Anyway, I decided it was time to move up a bit into grown up horsie territory. Up until now I have locked up the mini horses in a stall and plopped hay in front of them to keep them busy and out of sight while Brego works. And I have longed him for 10 minutes or so before putting on the lines and long lining him. But I don't want to start a habit of him needing to be longed before work so that was just a short term thing to teach him to get his mind in the right place before work. He has been working enough now that he should know what his tack means and pay attention. baby horsies get distracted and their human understands that and works them through it, tries to keep distractions to a minimum until they know a little more. Grown up horsies have to learn to work through those distractions.
So we went right out to our work area and the surcingle and long lines went right on. Mary and Sparrow stood by the corner watching through the fence. Mary would scream at the top of her lungs when we were stopped at the other side of the paddock, lol. I got my lines arranged and said, "WALK ON!" and he stepped right off straight as an arrow. He always tries to trot down the slight hills but I pulled him back and for the first time was able to rate his speed reliably. We did a lot of turns and he started to really soften up and give me some bend. He was paying attention right from the start, even better than he does when I longe him first.
My cue for trot is to say "Teeee-ROT!" and when I asked for it he immediately broke into a trot. His corners and turning are not so hot at the trot, but they are there. He is just not terribly coordinated about it. So I'm happy with what I am getting from him on that so far. He is trying, even if there is some resistance. Even when he got willful and was trying to blow through my hands to get to his minions after a brief head tossing moment he sighed and came around just fine.
Then we worked on stopping several times. He seems to have stopping down pretty well, but not so much the "standing still after stopping". So we worked on that. He threw one hissy fit where he tried going backwards and sideways before realizing he couldn't get away from me and just started behaving again. I ended by going back to basics and working on getting him to flex and give me his head at a stand still.
45 minutes. Longest work session so far. He was active, willing, sharp, soft and responsive. He paid attention to me, aside from the one moment of wanting to go hang with his buddies. I switched his feed from a complete feed to a mix of pellets and grain and I think he is doing better on it. He is carrying his weight different, more up around his spine and less in his belly. But he also seems to be more mentally active.
I was really delighted with our work today. I had a massive grin and was just bursting with pride at how well he had done. I'm sure I sounded like a complete moron telling him what a good boy he was after his work out. I was talking in my "dog voice". lol. I ended it with an Altoid (he LOVES those) and some lunch. Then I took his halter off and gave him a good head scratching. He loves those, too, but not as much as the Altoids.
He has filled out enough through the back that the teeny English saddle is too narrow but my Australian saddle is too wide. Just barely. But that is OK, he is filling out more and more through the back, and I am having lots of fun long lining him, so no rush.