I am a gushing horse-mama, I am so proud of Corona!!
I went to the barn last night after work. By the time I arrived, the horses had been turned out for the night. I walked over to the field where Corona and Roller get turned out and they were both at the opposite end grazing to their heart’s content. I whistled at the gate and they both looked up and ignored me, the delicious grass was clearly more appealing than I was. I started to open the gate to go into the field and at that moment Corona decided to abandon his grass-guzzling frenzy and he cantered over to me! I’ve never had him canter over to me – ever. There have been a couple times when he’s mooched over or trotted over, but last night he came over so eagerly that it really was something else to behold.
I brought him into his stall and put on his rope halter as we were going to do some groundwork a) because I love groundwork, b) because he was caked in wet mud and there was defintely not going to be any riding going on and c) to switch things up after our focus on preparing for the dressage tests of last weekend.
We went into the coverall and started with some friendly game, followed by the porcupine and driving games, then the yo-yo and then circling. I was getting some really nice responses but I definitely have to do some DVD-review to up our games. For the first time, I also introduced the sideways game and I was completely shocked at how quickly Corona seemed to get it. We played around the mounting block as well, as I’d like to start working on mounting from both sides. There is some definitely hesitation from Corona to have someone standing on the mounting block on his right side. Right now, he won’t stand square and tends to walk forwards or move his hindquarters over. After a few attempts however, I was able to stand on the mounting block and lean on his back from the right side.
Over the last few months, I’ve been putting Corona on x-ties in the barn when I’ve been working around him (previously I’d work on him in his stall but that stopped when he began being aggressive). He’s pretty well behaved on x-ties, but he has this habit of tossing his head up and down – it’s like a nervous tick and he’s done it since he arrived. The previous owner told us about it and said how they tried a variety of things to try to get him to stop, but were unsuccessful. I’ve never liked that he’s done it, because I know that he does it out of stress, but I have noticed that he has improved a bit since first arriving, and he tends to do it less after being worked. To be honest, I somewhat just accepted that it’s one of his quirks and hoped that with time, he’s just do it less and less until it stopped. Over the last few weeks, when I’ve been finished with him on the x-ties, I’ve been unclipping him and asking him to stand still for a few minutes at a time before turning him out. He’s done quite well and has responded to my corrections (ie: backing him up using the porcupine game when he walks forward).
Last night, I decided that I wasn’t going to put him on x-ties at all. I was going to take this “standing still” game up a notch and do it while I brushed him. This horse blew my mind. He stood like a gentleman the entire time and I hardly had to correct him at all. I couldn’t believe it. At first, I held the rope, but he was doing so well that I lay the rope over his back. I brushed him and brushed him and brushed him…then I picked out all of his feet and he didn’t move an inch! To say I was elated would be an understatement, I couldn’t believe how polite he was being….and…there was NO head tossing. None. Not even a shake! He was so relaxed…yawning, resting a hind leg, he was really just happily standing while I worked around him. Even when I fiddling with equipment beside him and not touching him, he was totally complacent. I gave him some carrots – no problem, no pushiness, no rude head butts, just standing still, happily embracing whatever I was doing.
I love this horse. A lot.
I took photos too…and have been staring at them with pride ever since!