I used to take Dear One for country walks – this isn’t trail riding, this is ground work as you are literally walking the horse. I started doing this after reading Hempflings Dancing with Horses book and during those walks I would also incorporate some of the TTeam work, using the dressage whip as a signal to stop or move as well as using it for stroking the legs and tapping the hooves.
Although I have done a bit with Little Girl, I have not really done much along this line with Big Guy. Yesterday, the opportunity presented itself so the Big Guy, myself, husband, daughter and THE Dog, went down the lane for a walk. We were quite the parade and everyone had a good time. I especially think T-man liked getting out for a bit of an adventure (but of course not a lot of adventure….).
The lane is a buffer between the pastures and a row of other properties one of which has the flock of mallard ducks, the two pot-bellied pigs and a goat. The pasture side passes the BO’s mustangs, and the other boarder’s horse, an Arabian. If you turn left out of the gate you go along the back of these houses; if you turn right, you parallel a pasture sometimes used for cattle.
This time though is the first with just a neck rope (no halter). I wanted to play with this more and after thinking about it, decided maybe doing walking, instead of arena work, would be more enlightening to us both.
We had just gotten through the gate when a large black dog lunged and started barking at us. What surprised me the most was that T-man just did a short startle in place and then continued onward. This is part of that mellowing that I had mentioned in an earlier post. About two years ago this is the horse that took off running when he saw a black barrel that I had moved to a different part of the arena yet here he is faced with a lunging, barking dog that could have easily gone over the short fence and he pretty much ignored it.
Further down the lane we stopped at the Menagerie. The flock of ducks started quacking and coming right over (I’m thinking they thought we were bringing dinner). The two pot-bellied pigs (which they say their names are Randolph and Chuckie) came over too. The Big Guy takes it all in stride.
hat was funny is that the pigs came right up to the fence and were literally nose to nose to the Man for at least 3 full minutes before he finally figured out that there was something really weird sniffing him! He pulled back a step or two and his nostrils got all big (and he has HUGE FRIGGIN’ NOSTRILS to begin with) and he gave a low snort like, “hey man WTH?”
I am pretty sure that T-man is not the brightest bulb in the pack. But he’s sweet and a real Gentle Giant (unless of course you ride him and are out of balance and then he pitches a fit — or you ride him in an indoor arena that he doesn’t like).
We continued on down to the gate, which opens to a very busy street, before turning back to go home to the stable. It was a good thing.