All three horses were gems today, and we had three excellent rides. But two little - very little but so telling - things with Red made me very happy, and I think him, too. (The other two horses made me happy too, but this is Red's post.)
The first thing may not sound like much but it really touched me. Early in our ride, Red left a pile of manure. Our barn likes you to get off and remove it promptly so it doesn't get ground in - a good rule, I think. So I hopped off - we were doing our usual bareback thing - and asked him to stand. I then walked a fair ways to get the manure fork, back to the pile, picked it up and carried it back to the manure bucket. The whole time, Red watched me attentively, but didn't move a muscle. This was despite there being another horse in the arena who he might have wanted to wander off and meet. But he did exactly as I had asked - and I had done almost nothing except say stand - we've done no training at all on this - and send the thought message of what I wanted him to do. I praised him effusively. Pie and I do this frequently - Pie, being a ranch horse, came with a good stand-by-himself - but Red and I haven't, as he has in the past been very distractible and inclined to do his own thing if left to his own devices - but not any more.
Then, later in our ride, he backed, and kept right on backing softly, just because I thought "back" - no rein pressure, no nothing. Just plain wonderful Redness . . .