Today I attempted session 3 of the front arena de-spookifying, but the wet, muddy, sandy 22 ft line and carrot string just made it annoying for us both. A wet savvy string wraps around things like cones and fenceposts and lead ropes and stays there, wrecking my signals and confusing Rocky. The 22 ft line was crunchy and not at all flexible which made my sends/allows sloppy. Also, neither of us liked how it felt on our bodies, so we kept trying to avoid the rope.
On the plus side, he was much more focused on me and my strange fumblings and ARGHs – he could tell I was not ARGHing at him and he just kept wanting to put his nose on me. He also kept his attention more on me than on spooking at things, so that worked too.
The other cute thing was I went to the Back 40 to get him and he came walking right up and then when I went to undo the halter so I could put it on, I accidentally swung it around and the rope popped him across the face, right over his eye I think! He snorted and jumped back and wheeled around. I felt so bad! This was the first time he has approached me so directly, so quickly, ears all perked and no hesitation or coyness about him … and then he gets whipped in the face! Smart pony knew I didn’t mean it though and he came back and we played Friendly Game until he wasn’t flinchy at all. In fact I had to pull it out of his mouth to put it on his nose.
I hope our unsatisfactory session tonight didn’t turn him off of catching me in the pasture. We did walk back together in harmony despite neither of us having enjoyed ourselves very much.
Earlier in the day during a break in the rain my mom’s dad and my dad’s mom got to meet Rocky. They stayed in the car where it was warm and dry, and so as not to risk the treacherous footing, but he put his nose down and let them pet him from the car, and he wasn’t afraid of the doors opening or people getting out or anything. My mom asked me for “the Parelli way” to greet him, and my dad said “I can tell he loves you.” Awwwww. Good boy! Mom has been allowing her inner horse-crazy little girl to surface, too, and wants to ride him when it’s a little warmer.
I think I’ll give him the day off tomorrow to just be a horse in the muck. I have a ton of day job work to complete by Wednesday anyway.