I love these silent evenings, when it's just me and the horses! Besides, since the floodlight was set up, I can do more training, not just hang around (which is nice, nonetheless, I want some training progress, too.).
Last night I first worked with Snickers in a patch of grass by the barn. He was quite feisty and at first tried to be more interested in the grass, not our communication. Every time he tried diving down for a munch, I tapped him with the whip lightly to remind him, and with each time he grew more and more fizzed about things not going his way, until he decided to try and just speed around me at the end of the rope. He was full of beans, jumping up in the air, squealing, farting and kicking dirt, and I understood he just needed running his sillies out, before we could continue. From time to time, I'd offer him to tune back into me, but, if he ignored that, he just got sent out again, until he finally returned. I then walked him a little and did a bit of a calming massage, after which he was good as gold. We worked quite a bit on sideways and sideways combined with an active trot forwards - we did that in the pattern of a rectangle, the long sides of which were done in a trot, but the short sides were sidepassed. We also continued working on the Spanish walk and I tried asking for shoulder-in, which was quite good even to the stiffer side. After all this I invited him to lie down, which I hadn't done for a while due to not wanting to roll him in wet mud or grass. He popped down immediately and was quite happy about it, so I rewarded Snicks with a good grazing break. During this break, one of the barn cats, Fritz, joined us and hopped on Snicks' back, where he napped and purred all while Snickers was slowly walking around.
After the break I lead Snickers into the barn, as it was much lighter there, and we worked a little on our target training. I introduced Snickers to the concept that different objects have different names, and he started learning two new words - "frisbee" and „rope". The result I will try to achieve is him being able to target the object I call out, while showing both of them, and, after initial training of these object/names separately, Snickers chose the right objects among the two a couple of times. But I'm not expecting immediate results in this, of course, he still needs to learn to really differentiate between the objects, and to be more patient. :)
I still had some time, so I let Snicks back in his night paddock and took the filly out for a session. I wasn't sure how she'd react to being alone outside the barn with the rest of the herd stabled (except for two mares who were still out in the paddock and whom she saw, so they might have contributed), but the filly was wonderfully calm and cooperative. She even didn't mind going completely away from the barn, out in the darkness and closer to the woods. Only after six short sessions she is now leading well at the walk and at the trot, has become more polite in turns, stopping and backing up, has started yielding her quarters, yields to pressure in the halter and is okay with ropes being thrown and rubbed all around her. I'm very excited to be working with her! And to remember how, when I met her first time, she was being lead by pulling the halter and by bribing her with sugar cubes...
It was clearly not a horse problem.