Today was Joe's turn to come out. It was a grey, overcast, yucky day, and I really didn't feel like it, but I did drag myself out. I'm so glad I did!
I tacked up Joe, and we headed down to the roundpen. We checked out all the corners, as he was a bit more up today. Not spooky, but just more aware and energetic, his head was all over, checking everything out, traffic, etc. We just walked around a bit, focusing on me, doing the obstacle course. We went through the squeeze barrels, around the cones with just a point, then through the L. As we went through the L (he was on the lead), I reached my right hand out to guide him through the corner, and I got a big attitude face, head toss/flip. Hmmmm...... he wasn't acting this way at any other time.
Then we went and worked on "Stand" for awhile. That was very hard for him to do, he wants to mirror my steps. Even a thought back, and he was coming with me. So we CT for standing still and doing nothing for awhile, then I was able to progress to a lean back, lift my leg, then a step back, and we graduated up to about 1 1/2 steps back. I was getting a lot of muscle twitching with each move, so I knew how hard this was for him. I figured he really needed to move a bit, he was getting sorta antsy looking. The lead was just looped over his saddle horn.
So I just walked off, and decided to just get real quiet. Let him read my body language. We walked. We stopped. We walked slooowwww, one big exaggerated step at at time. He mirrored my every step, one hoof at a time. We backed. We walked with our heads down (all I did was look down, and he dropped his head), we walked with our heads up. We jogged a beautiful collected jog. We yielded forehand. He mirrored my every step. I stepped sideways into him, he did the same. I stepped sideways away from him, he did the same. I disengaged, stood in one spot and crossed my legs behind, he did the same, in a beautiful circle around me, disengaging his hinds pivoting around me. It was amazing and beautiful! I was having so much fun, I never got on him.
Now I had him mirroring me so much, I couldn't get him to stop. Its like having an 1100 lb. red shadow that you can't see through. It was time to head back up to the barn, but I couldn't get ahold of the lead. We worked on Stand a bit more, and I was finally able to reach over the saddle and grab the lead hanging on it (he was totally at liberty through all this, the lead was draped over the saddle horn). I opened the gate, and Joe stood there in the center of the pen. Great, I thought, I can't even get him to the gate. I swung open the gate, and said: "Come on, Joe, its time to head back up." And out he came! He had a nice big handful of oats for that, and a few more on the way back up the hill. Where he stood ground-tied while I untacked and put all my gear away, then waited patiently but eagerly for his afternoon hay snack.