Morning feeding: Phil was polite.
Great Training Day! I worked Phil in the round pen to help him focus on me for our upcoming adventure. He is less worried about the herd and a little more focused on me.
Once Phil’s brain was switched to “learning mode” I took him out on the trail for a team building session. This is my version of a Rope’s Course. I’m sure many of you have attended this workshop with your coworkers. As Phil and I were walking away from the barn I uncovered another “hole.” I could feel Phil’s energy drop and the rope began to get heavy in my hand. Phil was thinking about balking. He is codependent upon the herd and the comfort of the barn. I gave him a very simple task to focus on me. I was able to avoid Phil planting his feet.
As we walked a little further down the trail I noticed Phil’s energy picked up. He was very motivated and forward flowing. He was “two fingertips” light in my hands on a slack lead. He stayed in his space and did not try to walk ahead of me. We walked through all kinds of thick brush, up/down hills, over fallen trees. If I saw something interesting to walk over or through I didn’t hesitate to plow through deer trails to reach the obstacle. This was great for Phil to take responsibility for his feet and pick them up. I also was able to show Phil I could be “the leader” and keep him safe in such a stimulating environment. I saw a completely different horse.
Now, I must say that some of the low energy in the arena may come from me. I am bored to death in the arena and I’m sure my low energy is picked up by the horses. Phil and I had great energy out on the trail. I am definitely going to take our classes to the trails in the future. I did not take the hunting dogs with me. The dogs provide an extra stimulus and add the surprise ambush to the lesson.