Dewey still amazing. 2nd day of doing canter work in the arena. He lurched forward like a jet rocket the first time today, and then looked apologetic. The next time I asked, all I had to do was barely whisper "canter" and he just floats forward into it.
He's a pleasure to work with. Restoring my faith in horses. He's eating hay and enjoying time with the chickens right now.
Dewey has now been with us for 40 days. In that time, I've managed to injure him on the arena gate (he's almost all recovered), introduced him to two terrible ponies (Waffles was good for a month before she started bucking, Molly was good for two days before bucking - an improvement, in pony keeping), and now he is the Lone Horse of the Opper Hacienda. Until we find a regular old quarter horse gelding, to be his buddy, I'm done with other horses.
Dew is four years old, and funny. I've started walking him over poles on the ground because he seemed terrified of things knocking into his feet. He'll still leap a little if something pokes him funny, but he's learning to channel his inner deer. The best part about Dewey is not that he limps a little bit on his right front leg, which I hope is because his bare feet are still a little tender as they toughen up on our streets, but the best part of him is that he is not evil. He is not, like Maggie, trying to run away and kill all aboard in a panicked frenzy. He is not an old pony mare who just wants to flip you off and be a b**tch. He is a young, loyal dog, who is interested in everything, and will even forgive a person for tearing a hole in his leg with the arena gate.
We had to work hard to get him back through that gate, but now I can lead him in the gate and he's not thrilled, but trusts. I had to be a firm leader. Firm and gentle. Secure. All things I could use work on. He's helping me.
If his limpy-ish foot recovers eventually, and we keep working in the arena together and putting the basics into him (like we did today, just a little walk/trot, just get in and out of the evil gate, everything happy and easy) - he'll be a very easy horse to ride for years to come. He has a good mind. We just started walking to the arena all on our own, maybe 4 times so far with no trouble. Once there, I'm teaching him the cues to walk and trot, to slow and speed up a bit, so he can learn his brakes and accelerator. So he doesn't lurch when a rider asks him to go, so he can learn what we want. Lots of circles. Keeping his head low, to stretch out his back and neck. And I rubbed a crackly plastic bag all over his body and head, which is an accomplishment. The more we take him out, the more he sees, and sees he's okay, he can get through it, the more confidence he has, the better a horse he is.
I guess it's the same for all of us.