I’ve said for a long time that I want to know who Galahad is–his true nature, his personality without the veneer of enforced politeness, without the sullen acquiescence that he all too often shows. I want to know the real Galahad.
Well, it seems that with these new methods I’m learning, he feels much freer to express himself. Don’t get me wrong–he’s still respectful to me, and mannerly with others. That part hasn’t changed.
What is new is the energy he has about him, and his expressiveness. There’s a happy spirit and a fire in him that until recently I only saw when he was with his buddies. Now, I see it and feel it whenever we’re together. That’s a wonderful thing, to see him open up with me like that!
As I was leading him back to the pasture this afternoon, Galahad was anxious to get to the bucket of soaked alfalfa cubes that my friend was carrying. As I’ve said before, on a scale of one to ten, ten being a crazy bronc, Galahad’s bad-boy act is about a three…well, maybe a four. But he can be a handful, and we had to do some backing, turning, and repositioning. He did it all cheerfully enough, but you could tell he was full of himself.
His confidence has gone way up, even in his herd. That sounds odd, but it really seems to be true. I noticed him moving one of the other horses off with just a look the other day–and that was a horse who terrorized him when he first arrived.
About halfway across the pasture, I decided to turn him loose so that he could run and play. Knowing he was feeling frisky, I was careful to take the halter off while moving his back end away from me in a pivot on his forefoot. Good thing, too: he took off at a gallop as soon as I let go.
Beautiful to watch! He soon came circling back at a canter. I held up my hands in front of me and leaned forward: “Halt!” And he came to a sliding stop about fifteen feet away. Good boy!
After that burst of energy, he walked with me the rest of the way across the pasture, and I noticed an odd thing: he was better behaved OFF the lead than he had been ON the lead. Not sure of the explanation….
Anyway, we’ll continue doing traditional groundwork as we move along with Carolyn Resnick’s liberty methods. Giving him more freedom also means I have to step up a notch in leadership. But that’s just fine.
We’ll get there, my Galahad and I.