Just thinking about the day recap makes me grin. Harley's such a baby. Some things, he is brave and curious, and even devious. Other things, he'll come right out of his skin if he could, or hide under a rock shaking.
I grabbed Harley, dressed him in the surcingle, and took all my longing toys to the arena. Started out free longing, and at a few moments, he took off like a complete banshee running through the circle. What the heck?! Then, as I saw a shadow, I figured it out. There were some huge buzzard birds on the high power pole near the arena, and they were flying off of the pole. The noise of their wings, along with the shadow overhead, skeered the beejeebies outta baby Harley. baby baby... you need to realize birds are over your head, not on the ground. They won't eat you - you're too big, and you don't taste fruity enough.
I added his neck stretcher, and left it at the same length. Quickly, Harley showed me he learned something last two sessions with it, and worked 80% of the time with them loose. I stopped him after a bit, and shortened it maybe an inch total (no more than 2"). I sent him back out on the circle, and he argued with it a little before finding the answer again.
With all the longe work done, I was a little bit proud of all the good he'd done, and how he'd gotten over the birds, mostly. The neck stretcher work was amazing, and I can see he's building up strength without losing forward energy - that's delightful.
I got brave. I took the bit off, and switched back to the lead rope from the longeline. We walked over to my pond. It's down a little, so there was a good spot for me to stand, where I could stay dry, and send Harley forward into it at varying depths. I sent him forward towards the pond. Harley put one hoof just on the edge, and blew his nose towards the water. Some splashed up on his face. I braced for what I only thought would be a war of sending forward, and refusing to let him avoid the muddy murky water.
Harley very delightfully took one, two, three, four steps up into the pond. He walked all the way through gingerly. When he got to the other side, he let out this HUGE heavy sigh, and picked up a trot until reaching the pond again. Splish splash, Harley trudged through the pond again. On probably the fourth trip through, he was in the water up to his knees, and stopped, in the pond all four feet. He paused just long enough to paw at the water, probably twice before I shoo'd him on forward. Water went EVERYWHERE!
We changed direction, and again I kind of braced for an argument. He very happily went right back in the water, splish splash, and I again had to correct him for pawing at it. Water splashing all over the place, Harley soaked wet on his legs, with splashes on his back, belly, and head!
An entertaining 45 minutes of "work". Well, maybe that water activity was a reward, might have to ask my horse!