Today, I went out to the pasture intending to work some more on George and Bridget's stand-stay. But it just wasn't working out quite as well as it did the last time. I eventually realized that the difference lay in the fact that the first time I introduced this, I was all motivated to instruct George and Bridget to behave in an appropriate way when I wanted to give out treats to all four horses; and standing and staying was part of that. Today, however, I went out with the intention of just "practicing" their stand-stay. To practice it mindlessly caused - not so much them as - me to lose focus and direction. If I had focused on making sure that everyone (i.e. George and Bridget) behaved nicely while I handed out treats to Rose and Chloe, I feel that things would have been clearer. By the time I realized this, I'd run out of treats, and so I put the issue aside for another time.
Instead, we just started goofing around. I played with George with the game of choosing between pinkie and thumb, each one standing for something. (You have to watch the video.) I have absolutely no idea if he had the slightest notion of what the heck we were doing, but he was pretty engaged. I also played drawing on the ground with a thick stick, which made George want to play at chewing the same stick. And we (that is me) put sticks in a bucket, and George took them out. And of course I had to spend time scratching him.
George has a new way of being with me, which is that he comes up head first and drops his head and stays in that position for a while. He still does his sliding alongside maneuver too. Another new thing is that he is more worried about the proximity of Bridget. When he was with me today, he kept giving her the evil eye, and a couple of times he left to run her off. Whereas in the past, he had supreme confidence that she wouldn't dare interfere. I notice lately that the two of them seem to be getting a little closer. One time I even caught them fraternizing over a fence without me standing in between them. I wonder if this rapprochement is making George more susceptible to Bridget or giving Bridget more confidence in her demeanor towards him.
George finally got tired of playing and picked up Rose and left. Which allowed Bridget to come over. She offered me her legs and was very interested in me talking about them, as in, "Yes! That's your right leg! And now, look! You're picking up your left leg!" We also discussed her ears and her nose and her mouth. The fact that she didn't turn her butt around to be scratched evinced her high level of engagement in this naming activity. I had the grooming box out with me, and of course Bridget had to empty it out and chew the contents and try to pick up the empty box.
I must try to think of some other interesting activities they might enjoy. I think they might get a kick out of a tarp.