Jake & Spike - The Dynamic Duo

Around 10:30 every morning the shenanigans start. Bite, rear, bite, chase, gallop, stop, circle, bite, rear. It goes on for about ten minutes then they have to stop to catch their breath before starting all over again. Sometimes they get distracted and chase one of the ponies but that doesn't hold their attention for long.
It's great to have a weanling and a yearling together. The surprising part is that it's the weanling, Spike, who instigates most of the play. He'll jump on Jake and ride him out of the shed and it's 'game on'. The interesting part for me is that I can go out at anytime between their bouts of play, put a halter on one of them, bring him in the barn and beyond a little bit of nibble on the rope there is a definite respect for me. Phew! The only remnant of play that is left is when I pick up the front feet and they want to drop to their knees, but that is fading too. I honestly wasn't sure how this would work out: wanting the boys to see me as a friend, part of the herd, but not use me as a punching bag. Somehow, it works.
Both boys are getting some lessons in halter showing at the moment. They are learning how to stand still for increasing periods of time, how to lighten their shoulders, back up softly and straight, and how to move each foot on cue to stand squarely as required in the Paint breed. They are also learning what 'whoa' and 'walk on' mean, and how to walk in rhythm with me, and learning to enjoy a good grooming and a bit of fussing, like having their ears held and their legs and faces brushed without fidgeting. We'll move on to clippers at some point too. It's a good project for this time of year when the winter often shuts down other options. When the weather fines up a bit we'll be able to work outside, adding a trot to our repertoire, some show ring-type distractions and eventually some trailering to test our routine away from home. 
All of this used to be done with young stock to get them prepared for an eventual show career. That's one of the purposes of showing on line, showmanship as opposed to halter. It seems to be a dying art and that's a shame. Disciplined and purposeful groundwork is the basis of a good riding or driving horse, and it develops habits that can last a lifetime. Which is a good thing, since Jake and Spike have a long and fun lifetime ahead of them.

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