Leo officially moved to the farm a couple weeks ago, and we are having so much fun! He really loves his Jolly Mega Ball. I've been try to keep him stimulated with toys, and give him company whenever I can. He's currently been alone at our property, but we will be having a border arrive on Monday and he'll have a nice older gentleman gelding to keep him company soon. More updates coming!
July 4, 2021
I have been having a great time getting to know Leo. He is kind, calm, curious but not overly so, concerned about new things but not reactive, and an all around solid citizen for a yearling.
Honestly I couldn't ask for more from him at the moment. But he is a baby, and there are somethings that we need to tackle during this year so that life is easier for us all later on.
Leo's one big baby issue (and he is a big baby standing at 15.2hh already) is he is a space invader! This was a big issue with Rose, and one that I let go for far too long with her. I am not making that mistake this time around. Leo's second pressing issue is that he stops and plants his feet when being lead. Both of these issues are really common with youngsters. I don't find it fun to feel like I might get run over or squished, by accident of course, because my horse is in my space. Also, he needs to trust me as the leader and walk along as asked, so that we can get somewhere in a somewhat timely fashion.
So, what are we doing then to work on these issues?
#1 General handling, and not letting him invade my space. Using whatever means are at my disposal in the moment. Ie, waving my hands at his face, etc. Leo is not an explosively reactive horse, so this works fine with him. If anything, he is a little to dead to pressure, and is always trying to snuggle me. So, we work on this all the time in all instances.
# 2 Respecting my space, starting with disengaging the hind end and backing from the lead rope. I am doing very short sessions with him, asking him to disengage his hind end. I could do a whole video and walk through like I used to do, but since creating this blog over a decade ago, there have been a million youtube videos posted on how to do this. Rather than reinventing the wheel, here is a video that I found useful and describes the approach that I am taking:
Leo has already been making good strides with disengaging, and with backing. I don't expect him to master these skills immediately, but he is getting the idea one small success at a time! He is thoughtful and does a good job of licking his lips when he's figured something out.
#3 Keeping his feet moving when leading. This is a fairly simple issue (I hope). To fix it, when he stops, I analyze the situation and if he is actually looking at something I let him have a moment. If he's not, or once he's stopped looking, I ask him to walk on. If he doesn't, then I gently pull on the lead rope going from side to side to move his front feet. Once his feet move, he walks on. I've only been taking this approach the past two days, but already he has made big strides. What should be a 2-5 minute walk to the arena has been taking us 20+ minutes. Today it only took close to 5 minutes. I call that a success!
Things are going well and I can't believe that I own this amazing young horse! Leo is truly a dream come true. He was originally delivered to my trainer's barn, as we thought he might arrive in the middle of the night (that didn't happen), and I've kept him there for the last week and a half while I get my fencing spruced up in a couple spots and await hay delivery. The fencing is done, and this week I am hoping to get him on my trainer's trailer and bring him home (I was silly and sold my trailer when I sold Gentry a couple years ago...word of advise, never sell your horse trailer). Fingers crossed he hops back on the trailer and it is a non-event!
Wishing you Happy Trails and Swooshing Tails!
June 25, 2021
Meet Leo (Leopold), my future dressage partner! I am beyond excited ❤️ After a 21 hour haul, he walked off the shippers big rig calm and happy. He has such a sweet eye, and nice disposition. I am so pleased and can't wait to get out to the barn tomorrow to spend more time with him!