1. Will reliably poop in the manure bucket.
I can't count the number of times he's tapped me on the shoulder while I'm picking the paddock to let me know it was time. A small adjustment of the wheelbarrow, and he saves me a scoop.
2. Will lead alongside while I'm pushing the wheelbarrow, and occasionally can be lead at liberty from one pasture to the other across the property, using only a cookie.
3. Super good at learning tricks.
We've been working on clicker training for a while now - easy peasy for one as food motivated as Val is. Turns on the forehand and haunches, comes when he's called (in progress), gives a kiss, bows, walks, trots and halts by my side at liberty, and will softly back 20 steps on my hand signal.
I got confirmation that he really is understanding the training the other day. While I went to move him from the grazing paddock, he was performing airs above the ground, rearing, bucking - generally ripsnorting around. I leaned on the gate biding my time. After a few minutes he came over and I'm figuring smelled the cookie in my pocket. He then volunteered the entire repertoire - one after another, from least to most effort required. I nearly busted a gut laughing at him.
4. Expresses concern for my well being... or possibly thinks I have magic.
Occasionally someone naps or rolls a little too close to the electric fence. I'll see him freaking out and come to find insulators snapped and wire arcing. After cutting the power, I'll head in to replace the insulators. "Hell no!!!" says Val as I work on the fence. Standing a safe distance behind me - eyes bugging, nostrils flaring and snorting - I know he's thinking HOW THE HECK CAN SHE TOUCH THAT STUFF IT ALWAYS BURNS ME?!
A little mystery keeps the relationship fresh I guess. ;D
♬♪♫ On the Sixth Day of Christmas... ♬♪♫