Probably the one thing I have been most afraid of with taking him outside his pen....getting loose.
The backyard is not fenced.
Hadn't really had time to work with him for awhile between having a cold and working until 8ish. So I got off at the civilized hour of 5pm today so decided I would make him work for his supper. So far anyway, he has never gotten cranky about being pulled away from food or having to wait until we are done playing for his dinner.
We did a refresher of moving hips and shoulders and lunging, it was like he hadn't just had the last week off. The thickness I noticed in his back leg yesterday is still there in both back legs a bit, slightly more in his left hind. It almost feels like he's stocked up or something. He doesn't seem sore or off, but it didn't really go away much after working (not that we worked that hard). So anyway, things were going well so I figured, let's go for a walk.
His walk was slower outside his pen than it has been in the past, but that was okay. We got about halfway around the backyard when I thought I'd see how he behaved lunging outside his pen. We hadn't done this for awhile because he tended to get a bit exuberant and I was afraid he'd get away from me....
Started off pretty good but at some point I'm not sure how I managed to let things get tangled, but he got a little bouncy, the rope got between his hind legs and he ended up facing away from me. I had no idea what he'd do if I tried pulling on the rope at that point because it wasn't like he could follow his nose very well and get turned back around. So I think this was my loony-tunes moment as I watched the rope slip out of my hand and saw him going away from me.
Luckily, when he got to where the yard light stopped and it was black beyond, he turned back toward me somewhat. I got to see a rather pretty trot as it looked like he was going to dart back into his pen. He was almost there when he put on the breaks. He took a few steps and I said whoa and he turned around. He was blowing a bit from the excitement but I was able to slowly walk closer and get the end of the rope.
Then I tried to act like it hadn't happened, we went about halfway around the yard again, lunged him in a few more circles, and then went back into his pen and played a little more. At one point I had the rope between his legs so it was bumping his hind leg just above his hock, he did a couple trotting laps before he realized it was nothing and stopped.
I am so very glad he didn't just take off into the dark.
I so want to build a fence. (I ordered the Horseguard fence to make a 100 foot-long extension to his pen).