Very short post tonight. Dawn had the day off, and both Red and Pie got rides. Pie and I had a very nice ride in a crowded arena. Red and I also had an excellent bareback ride, but there were also some special moments of Redness.
When we came into the ring, there was a horse being lunged for a lesson. Red has a serious phobia about lunge whips - not the objects themselves - he'll pick them up in his teeth and doesn't mind being touched all over with one. But if it's in use, all bets are off, and if it's swishing or cracking, he may even bolt to get away - it's not the noise, it's fear of what the lunge whip means to him.
Today he stood with me at the end of the ring - not so far from the horse being lunged as our arena is very small. The person lungeing wasn't cracking the whip, she was just holding it out horizontally and letting the end trail on the ground to encourage the horse to keep moving. Red's eyes were huge, but he stood his ground next to me on a loose rein. Eventually he released some tension by giving several huge yawns. We were able to move a bit closer, and finally I got on.
We worked for a bit at the other end of the arena - not so far away - and then were able to trot following another horse around the perimeter of the arena, which took us right around the horse being lunged. This is huge progress for him. I need to be prepared with a pack of treats - probably carrot bits - so I can use clicker with him to reward him for approaching and tolerating a lunge whip in use. Today I used praise, and his trust allowed him to stay with me.
And then, after our ride, he did a lovely "stand" while I picked up some poop, followed by a wonderful "come with", and then we did both all over again to pick up another pile at a different location. He clearly understands exactly what I want in both cases, although I've never trained him to do either, and is very happy to comply. More wonderful Redness . . .