Somewhere in all my Parelli media, Linda says “at this point if your horse isn’t coming up to meet you at the gate, you have a problem.”
Rocky has only three or four times met me at the gate. I think it depends a little teensy weensy bit on where Wesley and Paco are, whether it’s raining, and how deep the mud is. But I’m sure it depends mostly on ME. Am I boring him? Am I in a Pattern of Seven Tortures?
I’m trying to get more provocative. Certainly he’s shown enthusiasm for our Freestyle patterns. I’ve also taken to appearing in the pasture, handing out carrots, and leaving. Or hanging out undemandingly for 10 minutes or so, in the freezing rain, without taking carrots with me. And sometimes I take the halter in with me and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I get Rocky right away and sometimes I don’t. Just trying to be unpredictable and interesting in an environment where he feels safe.
He does always put his nose in his halter when I hold it out when I’m near him. I can hold it a foot above the ground and he will bend his head and try to thread his nose in. He never resists following me anywhere on the lead.
So. I’m thinking about what I can do about becoming more fun and interesting for him so that he comes to me most of the time. I’ve seen references to “catch me” in the Parelli materials but have never seen instructions (though I have seen Pat do it on the DVDs numerous times). I’m sure I’m not the first one to enter Level 2 with this puzzlement.