On Tuesday I did not really feel like working him, so I just went out and played with having him "catch me" in the pasture. He came right up so I decided to ask him to do a few things at liberty. I figured the worst thing that could happen is that he leaves and then I get to play the catching game again. Miraculously he stayed!
I was so excited about this because when I got Oak in February I figured he would never be a liberty horse like Bodhi. He is so aloof and does not have the natural interest in people or the playful nature that Bodhi did. We still have a long way to go to get to where Bodhi was, but it is beyond exciting to learn that he has potential. I really love playing with horses at liberty, so it makes me really happy to see that I am building that connection with Oak too.
I wanted to document the beginnings of our liberty work so I asked Chris to come out and film a few short videos. He is pretty far away but you can see that we are in a 3 acre pasture and that he is making the choice to interact with me. This is our front pasture that is about to be rested and re-seeded, so it helps that there is not a lot of grass right now. I bet this would not have happened in one of our more lush pastures!
The video above shows me going out into the pasture and asking him to "catch me". This so happened to be the strongest response from him I have gotten yet! He actually trotted towards me! Huge for him.
These two videos show the beginnings of lunging at liberty. I see a lot that needs to be worked on mostly having to do with me. I am not sure why I am clucking up a storm! I need to be more quiet with my mouth and body. I think I am worse than usual in the video because I was filled with nervous excitement. We had a few discussions about changing direction (to his weaker side), so our cues are not entirely worked out yet. I am also using the whip at several points because he was traveling with his hip to the inside of the circle. He does this on the line too and it is something we need to figure out together. I am just happy he is willing to stay and interact.
Oak Training LogLocation: Pasture
Duration: 20 mins total between two days
Activity: Free-lunging and catching game
Observations: I need to be quieter between cues. I am so excited though!