Whatta Man! He still impresses me on each ride. It was a blustery cool evening, and nearly 5pm before I mounted up. I yapped on the phone while in the walk & trot, in figure eights, circles, stops & backups. He was a champ.
Ended my phone call long enough to lope circles in both directions. Yee HA! Woo... he felt fast to the right.. fast fast fast! It was probably bad balance on my part, because the scenery wasn't whizzing by in a blur...
Walked him through the trail obstacles, over the bridge, backed up in some swurvy lines. Unsaddled, groomed, put on his halter, cribbing collar, and attached some cotton reins to the halter. Mounted up bareback for a walk back to the barn. All of a sudden, the neighbor's hunting rifle sounded through the trees. I leaned forward, felt my body weight shift right, grabbed a wad of mane to catch my balance, and, to my complete surprise, he stopped. Completely halted, right in place. He felt my hand on his neck, and he knows that's the "emergency halt" cue.
Absolutely awesome! In a small panic, I did what I would automatically do - grab mane for balance. That mane-grab, along with my balance shift, and he stopped to catch me. :) Neat-o pony!