Gus and I don't always agree. Sometimes out on the trail, we have a difference of opinion. It goes something like this:
Gus: Aarggghhh! There's a log! I think we should be very, very concerned and possibly call the authorities.
Me: Um, Gus, can you hear yourself? It's a log.
Gus: Oh, ok, whatever.
Gus: Here's a great spot for me to start going fast!
Me: You can go as fast as you like, just as soon as you figure out how to do it without leaning your nose almost to the ground. Cos otherwise I'll fall off.
Gus: Ok, I can do it, look I'm doing it, yes, oops, no maybe not. Ok I'll walk.
Friendly differences. But in the arena it's another story. My daughter likes to work with her green horse in the arena before setting out on the trail. So I take Gus in there too. I say, "Yippee! I've got a great idea! Let's do figures of eight and work on engagement!" Whereupon Gus replies, "I've got an even better idea - let's not."
So we have devised a useful and mutually agreeable dressage exercise to pass the time; it's called Cloverleaf, as in Eating the.
This handy exercise has also proved invaluable in getting Gus to let me clamber on board. At first, he used to - oh, so politely - shift himself from the mounting block so I couldn't get on. I would wheedle and plead. Then I'd give him a treat and ask him to reconsider. Whereupon, being a nice guy, he would usually say, "Oh my goodness, if it means that much to you ..." I thought he maybe didn't like his bridle, or his saddle. But I don't think that's it. I think he likes to set the agenda. So now, when I get up, the first thing I say is, "What would you like to do now?" The answer is usually, "Stand here for a minute and think about it." And then, "O.k. now let's go do that fun Cloverleaf exercise." So we amble off into a corner and graze until my daughter and her horse are ready to set out.
Gus and me. A work in progress.