I was treated to a private dressage display this morning by Fiona McDonald and the beautiful Dundee. I worked with him about a year ago and it was great to see how much he has improved both physically and mentally since she got him. Less high-fallutin' things with Bear who was happy to wander over obstacles off-line. His confidence continues to grow and at one stage he was following me at canter.
Having carefully observed our session, Henrietta was keen to show she has learned something, taking the tarpaulin in her stride and then a bit of show-jumping. I also touched her tail for the very first time with my hand.
Final session of the day was with Bear's erstwhile field-mate, Jack, with whom he will be reunited in a few weeks. Jack has been leaning on his owner with his front right foot, something that it perfectly natural if you are a horse but not so convenient if you are a human; it is just colt behaviour. We worked using feet-picking up 'clear rounds' asking him to hold up each foot for ten, later fifteen and then twenty, seconds at a time.
Between rounds we also did some leading work - simply you walk when I walk and you stop when I stop.
We also worked on asking him to accept something stick-like touching him as he has developed an aversion to them as a result of having a flag on a stick waved at him to stop him being food aggressive. This tactic, suggested by a behaviourist may have worked for what is was intended but has produced another problem.
We were able to get over it and ended the session with him being touched by the flag.
Quote of the day, referring to patting your coat as a deterrent to a horse bumping you with his head, "That's all very well but it takes a long time for everything to stop wobbling after that!"