I have such a wonderful trainer! We’ve been playing with Billy on the longe line for about a month and a half now, only once or twice a week, to see if we can keep his muscle tone up so he has a better quality of life. Karin, my trainer, told me that when doing ground work if I wanted a horse to change his body carriage I could influence him simply by changing my own. Arch my own back, stretch my own neck forward, and chances are good I will get the horse to do a little bit of the same.
Yesterday Billy had a really good trot going on the longe. I know he still has a problem sometimes with the canter, but went ahead and asked him for it anyway. He did what he sometimes does–canters behind and trots in front. So I started “cantering” around with him, and lo and behold he fixed his front end and went into the proper three-beat canter. I have to admit I was a skeptic at first, but seeing him fix his gait right in stride with my faux canter was just amazing.
When we finished, I put my face right up to his cheek and told him, “Billy, you’re still my favorite horse”. He just looked at me with those big, brown, wise old-soul eyes and said, “Of course I am!”