I had played with Link and Sonny for say 15min each prior to our trail ride on the 16th, but this time I enlisted buddy to work with Sonny instead! Turns out Sonny was much too right-brained for a trail ride but we had a fantastic time going through the ground games! My friend went through the first 5 games with him and he did great. Link was a bit RB at times but came around too to do well with all 7 games as well as the Patterns. His Figure-8 was a little rough (he kept stopping at each ends of the barrels) however he eventually did it well at the walk. We did saddle up and do a little under-saddle work, however Sonny was just too RB to do much. More groundwork!
This time we worked both horses at once!
The big toddler was quite the handful - I actually felt bad for my buddy ;) Buddy did amazingly well though and soon had Sonny focused and relaxed for all the same 5 games they'd done the other day. Sonny was a little too RB to do the Figure-8 and Weave well (he was challenging me quite a bit too!), so buddy took Link and did the Figure-8 - the two did awesome together!!
He was so incredibly relaxed with Sonny working with us in the arena. Both horses seemed to feed off of one anothers' calm energy and further relax each other. We whipped through our 7 games, expanding on the Circling game as usual. Spiraling in and out he remained LB and jogging; he also changed direction fairly easy and with very few "evil thoughts" (ie. spurting past me with ears back, tail swishing, and possible intent to kick - lol). We did a ton better at the Figure-8 (including at the trot!) and the Weave today, though I had a bit of a difficult time achieving the Weave at the jog with him (haha all he wanted to do was walk - unusual for the sugar-high Link!). He was doing so well that I couldn't help throwing the 22' foot on him to see what we could accomplish. I stood back a ways and let the 22' run out a ways (not the full entire length though) and guided him back a ways around the barrels for the Figure-8 and Weave patterns. He performed both patterns with ease and little direction, even at that distance and on the 22' line! Finally I took him out to the emptier end of the arena and played a little Circling game with him; I really did not challenge him too much (it was already so amazing that he was just on that line!!!) but asked him to trot in either direction, which he did well - hiding his hindquarters nicely at the end whenever I asked. Disengaging his hindquarters to turn and face me was a little difficult for him the first time or two but after a few shots he was brilliant! At one point he gathered speed at the trot into a canter and then later he shot into a canter (Sonny went RB for split-second next to him - though he, Sonny, immediately calmed down too). The first time I thought he'd keep gathering speed at the canter, into a gallop, and turn RB but he didn't! He remained completely LB. The second time he started off RB but almost immediately transferred over to LB again; a few moments later I even asked him to hide his hindquarter (ie. disengage), at the canter, and he did, with no further prompting from me (ie. such as picking up that lead rope and tipping his nose in or such). So not only was he cantering LB (a hard enough feat in itself), but he was paying enough attention to actually disengage quietly, from the canter!! That was definitely the end to the session for Link and I; that horse absolutely amazed me today!!!
On a separate note, my new horse to work with arrived today! She's roughly 14.3hh or so, a little 5yo palomino QH mare named Chickadee! The owners say they had a little trouble with her with the bit - she just kept chomping at it and did not seem comfortable with it. She hasn't had her teeth done yet, so I have a feeling that that has something to do with it. That and perhaps being uncomfortable emotionally/mentally with what was going on at the time. Usually chomping at the bit is either a sign of physical pain/discomfort, or of mental/emotional unrest, a manifestation of a worried horse. She also foaled last year, but she looks great - her ab's all tucked up nicely. She has definitely got your classic cow-horse QH bum on her though! I think that she might be a LB, possibly an LBI? I'll figure it out more when I actually interact with her (today really just consisted of unloading her from the trailer and letting her get settled out in pasture) and see how she handles things. She's here to stay for a month of work before returning to her owners; I'll let her get settled in overnight before starting our session tomorrow! Photos to arrive soon ;)