We've had a warm winter here in central IL---REALLY warm, with days averaging in the 50's and nights in the 30s. I think we've only dropped below freezing maybe 4 or 5 times all season so far. This means that when my boys would normally be keeping condition plowing snow, they wouldn't have had a chance. Instead, we have been incredibly blessed to be in high demand for carriage and wagon rides this season. in addition to any normal farm chores needing done (not many this time of year), we've been booked every single weekend since early September, and doing about 3 events every week of December. I'm exhausted, but not complaining. The boys are in great shape, as many of our routes have hills.
The last few rides I made an observation I just found interesting. In the past, I noticed it took about 3 trips on a route for the team to figure it out. They knew when to stop, where and which way to turn, and how fast to go. It was quite literally like running on autopilot, and I held the lines "just in case." This month, though, has been different for some reason. The boys know the route, and clearly know what to do. When we reach a stop sign, they hesitate--like they know they are suppose to stop....but then they don't UNTIL I give the command. I think I like that better. I'm not sure why the change, but it just seems they are more focused on me now. I like that idea. They know when a turn is coming up, I will see them think about it, but if I don't respond, they keep going straight. At the slightest lift of my line, they will go into the turn. It means I can't be lazy and have to always be aware of what's ahead (which is safer anyway), but I like this new focus. They are so in tune to me, I can actually speak so softly the riders seldom even hear the command, and the horses response to my voice commands has improved tremendously. It's like they are just waiting for the reassurance that they are doing what they are supposed to.
I am curious, though, as to why the change. Has anyone experienced this before?