It's a pretty nice day for winter - sunny, not too much wind the highs in the 30s this afternoon. As I was going to get Dawn, little Blackjack was waiting at his gate to come in - he's gained a little bit of weight and is looking pretty good for an old guy:
Dawn and I did a little work in hand in the arena, after our usual grooming session ground-tied outside the barn door. We stopped and stood at several points for a few moments - she was relaxed and happy. First we warmed up doing some leading exercises using the cones, and in particular tight turns to the left, where she had to move her front feet towards me while moving her backs away - almost a slow motion spin - and tight turns to the right where she had to fade her shoulders away from me as I stepped towards her. While we were doing this, we made a stop by a barrel, threw it down, and did a little clicker work on our barrel rolling. In this session we progressed from her touching the barrel with her nose to her nudging it gently - it even moved a little bit on her last try. We stopped there on that one.
Then we went to the keyhole exercise I had set up:
We worked on slow, calm leading into the entrance, around the turn inside the keyhole and back out - Dawn finds going to the left a bit easier than the right but did very well, including stopping and standing calmly at various points. Then we did some turning within the square part of the keyhole, doing the same tight turns to the right and left that we did before. She did very well again, although the right turns were harder. We also stopped and stood at points in our turn and she didn't fidget or rush. At one point she stepped on a pole with a hind foot, which would have been enough to get her worried in the old days, but she calmly lifted her foot off the pole and kept working. I was really pleased with her again - she seems to be enjoying her work!