Span resumed training today. There was slushy snow on frozen ground but it was not really slippery and the footing was reasonable. It was 40° – warm, sun tanning weather after our record-breaking cold. I moved Spic and Span into a small round pen next to the house because during the winter they were getting out. I thought this new pen would be more secure. Apparently it’s true; they never got out again. With all the close contact being right out the front door I thought Span would tame down from his jitteriness. He never got better, while his teammate Spic has always been ready to be friends and come up to be petted. I was motivated to work things out in the round pen, still hoping Span could learn to relax.
As soon as we were in the round pen his training from last winter kicked in again. I sacked him with a blanket to attempt to see if his normal wildness would surface. The join up training from last winter was solid; he joined up. He never really relaxes but I could see his attitude was different from the moment we got into the round pen. He wanted to be close to me. He stood for the blanketing as I flipped it around under his body, over his body, over his neck and over his tail. He was jittery but stood solid and gradually relaxed. I put on a snaffle bit. I was told that the team had had a bit of driving in harness training but I could see no hint of this in the way that he handled the bit in his mouth. He tried to get his tongue over it and was continuously mouthing it, like all colts do the first time they have a bit in their mouths. I did some ground driving. He was heavy on the bit, especially turning right, but he seemed to remember my verbal cues, “haw, gee and whoa”, from last winter. I was encouraged. A little more of this training and I’ll be able to ride him up and down the driveway during our coming muddy season.