It's been years in coming, but the BBW really does seem to have grown up. He's always been bold, always been fearless, always been eager to do and try and see, but he hasn't always managed to keep his enthusiasm for life contained in a manageable unit, with four on the floor and operable steering. He's been getting there, better and more solid every day, but today I saw again just how much he's grown.
I woke to a hard, heavy frost on the ground, with a thick, near-freezing fog socking us in at the farm. The crisp, spooky weather, to which all the resident horses seem so temperamentally attuned, was ripe for fall ya-yas. Since it was likely the horses would be staying in just a bit longer this morning in order to keep off the frosty grass until it warmed up a bit, I wanted to take advantage of having the pastures empty of distractions so I could get the Germ some long-lining work outside the arena. So off to work we went.
Fatty McBlatterson has been whining that his saddle is pinching again (ugh, so much work to take off the weight, with great success, all blown by a move to a richer pasture and two busy workweeks for me!) so we are lunging for cardio/weight-loss work, and then long-lining because he loves it so much. (He really thrives on getting to go first.) So, after a good 25 minute lunge session, on went the second line, and we did a few tours of the arena, followed by a few tours of the grass lanes just outside the arena.
The boy was perfection. He was forward without pulling, responsive to the slightest rein aid or voice command. He even stopped and stood still for long moments, which is never his strong suit. In the long-lines, though, he seems to respect that this is fun enough to be good for, so he stood.
Convinced that I had his full brain, I left the relative safety and familiarity of the arena area, and we headed out in front of the house to make our way westward and up the lane. My dog Jake, who still hates Sherman (and all horses, really) for this episode, jumped up from his perch on the couch and lunged at the sliding glass doors, barking his fool head off at us from the other side of the glass. Sherm gave a jump to the left, and, yes, a step to the right, but stayed smoothly in contact at the front of the lines. After the step back to the right, I said "Whoa," and he stopped and waited for me-- the typical Morgan spook and recovery and then right back to business.
We continued on out, up the lane and into the fog. Sherm was calm, quiet, forward, and perfect. He did everything exactly as I asked, and in addition waited to be asked to do more-- this really is progress, for he generally likes to volunteer more of all sorts, but today he just waited eagerly and was instantly responsive. It was marvelous!
We got back down to the barn after the first pasture of horses had actually been turned out, and wow, what a hullabaloo! Frisky fall ponies spring-sproinging everywhere. Sherm just watched with a posture that said, "well that looks like fun, but I'm working here, see, so I have to behave..." I quickly untacked and put him in his stall for a few minutes while I put out the two-year old who was rearing and kicking the walls of his stall in his eagerness to get out and join the ya-ya party. I wrestled said youngster up the same lane Sherm and I had just quietly walked down, and this boy was spooking, leaping, trembling, staring, and goofing at every shadowy boogey in every corner of the farm. It was exasperating. I turned him loose, and it was a five-buck bolt before he got more interested in forward movement than upward.
I went back down and got Sherm and Uncle Celby and brought those two up together. After I released them, they both had a good, exuberant canter out to the back of the pasture, demonstrating that they, too, felt good and had some good fall frisky to work off. I was so pleased to see that Sherm really had been demonstrating great maturity in not having his ya-ya session while we were out there alone in the scary fog, but rather waited until an appropriate moment with the herd.
They grow up so fast...