Marcel thrived on variety, in fact it seemed to be simple ground games that slowly broke down the barriers between them. They played chase and hide and seek in the arenas. Since her boarding barn closed and they moved to a new one that was mostly a Hunter/Jumper facility, there were plenty of jumps for Marcel to hide behind.
"I seriously think that when he ducked behind one of those jumps and lowered his head, he really thought we could not see him!"
They played for hours and when they were done, Pam would take a book into his stall, sit in the shavings and read while Marcel munched on hay.
The variety Pam offered Marcel did not stop with ground games. With the new Hunter/Jumper boarders coming in, Marcel was exposed to so many new things including jumps, horses moving in different directions and at different speeds and the worst of all, that a horse would actually jump the jump while he was in the arena!
"Marcel is of the opinion that you go 'around' an obstacle, never 'over' it! Which brings me to our trail riding adventures."
Always having worked in enclosed arenas and being a bit rail bound, the concept of trail riding and tons of open space sent him into a dither. Dealing with brush touching his underbelly or a duck landing on a lake were very frightening to Marcel at first and yet once when a deer ran out in front of him, something that would cause a trail horse to jump, Marcel instead took off after the deer!
"He seemed totally intrigued by it. I know we followed it for no less than a quarter mile, only stopping because the deer jumped a fallen tree! That is where Marcel put his 'hoof' down. No Jumping! I gave up fighting with him when I lost the battle trying to get him to step over a 4" branch one day! I try to pick my battles more wisely...well most of the time." Pam said as she glanced up and grinned.
After owning Marcel for almost 2 years they were headed into the show ring for the first time. She rode him saddleseat. This was old hat to Marcel and if he felt like it, he could really put on a show. In their very first show, in their very first class together they won! Pam was so unprepared for the outcome, she had to ask the ring steward where to go to get her ribbon!
to be continued..