Chico always has dog’s choice at the horse barn. The car door is open, the crate door is open. He can join me in playing with the horse or not. For over a year Chico has declined to get out of the car at the barn. Today, he got out, helped me untack after a ride, brush and put away Dakota, then he helped me move horses from field to field.
This is huge for us.
Last August Dakota was spooked by something on a ride, he shied and I fell off, he spun to run home and even holding tight to the reins I couldn’t stop him, so I had to let him go. Poor Chico was walking behind us when this all happened, so in his world, for absolutely no reason, the horse turned and charged him, and I proved that I have no control over that big, funny-smelling thing. And on that day, he was pretty much spot on.
My own riding frequency went way down because it was just too much work to ride by myself. Dakota was too nervous to be any fun. Recently Jill has been doing a great job of texting me to let me know when she has a lesson going out and I was able to ride yesterday afternoon and this morning. On one of the rides, I remarked that maybe if Chico saw me come back to the barn on top of the horse a few dozen times, he might change his opinion of my ability to control Dakota.
Today when we got back, I looked into the crate from on top of Dakota and said to Chico “See, I came back on top of the horse again!” and darned if he didn’t get out of the crate and come welcome me back. Then he helped me do all the rest of my chores, happy, wagging tail, running ahead when we took horses to the far field.
I could have cried for joy.