Rainy weather had me playing with the horses on the ground. I taught the horses to touch a ball on the end of a stick and that concept led to the horses learning to follow the ball. Once Prince figured that out, it provided a whole new way to communicate with him – based on play and draw, without make and drive.
I realized that I tended to use my regular carrot stick more for driving and that was true for my carrot stick riding as well. The horses responded to it, but at some level, this was “make” and it showed up in their attitude. Prince loves his stick with the ball on the end of it. It awoke a strong play drive in him, an unprecedented level of creativity in figuring out ways he could play with that ball and a glue that is amazingly strong. All three of those developments surprised me, because in truth this developed out of play and Prince taught me at least as much as I taught him.
We start with touch and follow the ball on the ground, following into a turn away from me and obeisance because they show how this concept developed on the ground. On the riding front, Prince parallel parks and invites me to get on bareback and with nothing on his head, where he gives me lateral flexion, walks, trots, leg yields, halts and backs up.
Here is a short video Leigh took of one of our follow the ball sessions: Enjoy!