John declared the belly rope the be a miracle worker today. I think he is right. We have come so far because of that simple tool. Today we put the belly rope on from the start and he was fine being 'tied' for grooming. We then decided to put the bridle on first so that we could use the belly rope. He did back up, but no rearing. John really gave him a run for his money when he backed up and Boomer coughed a few times before he caught his breath. We tried again and he pulled back but came forward and put his head down. We let him relax and think a little while we petted him. We tried again and he just opened his mouth, accepted the bit and stayed down while I finished bridling him. I think John and I were both in shock for a while about that!
I tacked him up and longed him in the paddock again. He didn't pull on the line at all and was very calm, even about changing directions. He was very good about stopping also. I started working with getting him to extend and collect the walk and trot both. He responded pretty well to that also! I think he is really coming along! After his workout of about 15-20 minutes we untacked and put the belly rope back on. We hosed him off with no problem and the best part is this... John turned the pressure down and I even rinsed his face! Most horses will not allow that, ever! I have gone, in two weeks, from having a horse who would fight to the death to stay away from a hose to enjoying his bath and allowing his face to be rinsed! I don't know if it is the belly rope, us moving slow, or him relaxing and thinking more... Whatever it is, it's working! I couldn't be happier!
John and I set up our camping chairs outside of the fence by his feed bucket and waited. After about 10 minutes of munching hay Boomer wandered over and crossed the tarp to eat his food! I was so happy! It was windy and the tarp blowing around didn't even phase him!
All in all, a good day!