I wanted to take a moment to give a quick update since last week. Sage is finally getting the hang of having me handle her front feet! I have even been able to hold them in the "hoof picking position" for a few seconds each. Although she's still clearly a bit confused at the whole situation, she picks up her foot if I just say the word now. It's not pretty, but it'll do.
We've also been working on leading in a number of different situations. Today we went for a walk all over the property and passed by the duck pen, the garden, all the patio furniture--and even walked through several small holes between bushes, through the trees, everywhere. She was perfect! A lot more motivated than she is when she's in the arena. It's hard to light a fire under her butt in there, which I actually really like. I think she's going to be a really solid horse. However, teaching her to lunge is another story entirely. You could stand there for days clucking and waving the lunge whip and she'll just stand there. A few weeks ago, we taught her by having Patrick walk with her while I stood at the center. She picked it up really quick, but since then she's become a lot less motivated. Oh well. We'll get it eventually. In the meantime, we have a lot to work on. We are always reviewing the basics, trying to create a bombproof horse.
Speaking of bombs, I should mention that for the last month, the neighbors have been shooting off a propane cannon almost constantly (literally 20-30 times an hour). It sounds like someone blowing something up right in the yard. It's loud enough to scare the birds off their grapes and shake the ground beneath our feet. As annoying as it is, I have to say it has helped Sage's training immensely. Sometimes the thing catches me by surprise while we're working, and it's hard to tell if she even notices. She's so used to the constant exploding that she's solid as a rock. I guess I can't complain about the noise as much as I'd like to. :)
Soon I'm hoping to take her on a trail walk with someone else walking Brandy. This will be a big step as there will be no fences and lots of new things to see. I'll try to stay updated!