Since the Grey Horse was coated in mud today with no hope of getting him in a rideable condition AND riding during my lunch hour, I decided to take Ace outside for a walkabout. I didn't even bother with a chain over his nose. I just snapped a rope on him, grabbed the Whapper and headed out. Mom was putting Face-Off back in the barn from the outdoor arena. This got Ace all charged up. He's very good about staying "with" me even though you and I both know that if he wanted to he could just take off and leave me standing there. That's the important part of handling horses.... keeping them from realising that they can leave whenever they want. I was also having visions of him reaching over and picking me up by my arm. But thanks to the Whapper as both a chew toy and a horse-warding-off-device all was well. So now I have 600 pounds of dynamite rocketing around on the end of a rope, an open gate, and an empty arena. What would you do? Yup, put the horse in the fence and let go. So that's just what I did.
Ace had a ball. It has been a long time since he was up in the arena. He was a little anxious about being that far from the barn, but he does go out in the back pasture by himself so he more accustomed to being out in the open alone. He trit-trotted around a little, but really he wanted me to play with him, and I did a little. I didn't want him to just run around like a mad man though. He remembered his "whoa-stand" lesson from last week, and I could call him over and he would dance up to me and stand while I talked to him and calmed him. He did get up some good speed, but the problem with that is it was slippery near the gate, and horses never factor in lack of friction when figuring out when and how hard to apply the brakes.
So we got a few pictures of him showing off, and one of us going for a walk using the Whapper instead of a rope. If I could get him to focus a little better, I'm sure I could teach him to play Fetch.
Before going back to the barn we spent a few minutes walking circles in the yard while he calmed down. Pretty soon he was investigating things and thinking about where he was instead of where he was not (the barn).
Then we stopped off at the hitching rail to tie for a few minutes.
And back to the barn for lunch.