I had another impressive first-hand example of how fit Bar is this morning. (And, yes, the term is indeed ballerino according to Wikipedia.)
I took him down to the round pen and, just as I've been doing lately, let him loose on his own for a little while. He bucked, farted, raced around, and then did the most amazing act of levitation. As I watched, he launched himself straight up off all four feet and got about 2-3 feet of air.
It was like a solid spring of dark brown muscle. So much energy, so much power, all under his control.
Yes, I was glad I was on the ground and not on his back, but it did not dull for a second the awe I felt for this wild, healthy, beautiful friend of mine. I could almost see him in battle, leaping up and over whatever the enemy might use to sweep his legs out from under him. It was truly amazing.
Maybe I should change his name to "Bar-ishnakov." Ha!
On a side note, I am seeing a difference in his behavior the more often and consistently I handle him. I put the stud chain (also called a lead shank) away because, frankly, he listens to me even when I don't use it, so I don't want to pull it out unless absolutely necessary. Tone of voice works amazingly well with him, actually.
I did ride him over the weekend, but I used a new bit and it did not go well. I got a high-five from my daughter because I did manage to stay on, but I was pretty frustrated with myself. (Okay, I had the curb strap on incorrectly, so not only was it a new and heavier bit, I didn't have the leverage I needed and was probably bumping his mouth in entirely the wrong way.) Hopefully, we can backtrack a little and he'll forgive me for being so lame. It may take longer for me to forgive myself.
I almost hate to admit that after 3+ years, I got the curb strap on wrong. It looked wrong, but I was in my little tunnel of needing to get back on Bar and only focused on that, rather than on figuring out *why* it looked wrong. (It was hooked on the lower part of the shank, where the reins connect--duh.)
I know there are a lot of people who would rather pretend they know everything, but I'd rather use my own mistakes to help someone else out if I can. This particular mistake was more in not taking the time to correct what my mind's eye told me was wrong, not just having it wrong in the first place.
I may not be the smartest horse owner out there, but I am trying to learn as I go, working with the horse I have to get us both to the next place we need to be.