Well, for once, I saw more than myself and my own horses at the boarding facility we currently keep four of our horses at! Actually, I do often see one other boarder or so, but of the 50+ or so horses that have got to be there, I find it disturbing to see so few out working with their horses! On the other hand, sometimes the time just is not there or there is some other obstacle preventing an owner from visiting their horse, yet owners cannot bear to sell their horse(s), something I can honestly understand. I would rather see a horse of ours sitting out in pasture for a couple weeks, months, heck even a year or two, rather than the back of a truck bound for slaughter one day (though I understand the importance and necessity of slaughter, our horses don't have to go there and I certainly do not like to see horses with potential there!) or being misused or abused in someone else's barn. I harbour a distrust of most people, so selling a member of our family, even with a buy-back clause, is hard (read: impossible). Anyways, today I was privy to watching a whole number of boarders interacting with their horses - from the open-minded students to the experienced/pro's, to the supposed pro's. An example of the latter would have to be a reiner in the arena today. I appreciated someone who was not fumbling about the arena, who flowed and wove gently throughout the arena as we both each did our own exercises and patterns without ever once getting in each others' way. I also appreciated her horse! He seemed young, athletic, of sound mind, and moved quite well. Just as I was judging him to likely be a reiner, she started moving him onto reining exercises - back-ups, spins, and the like. He did very well and was trying so hard for her (no attitude whatsoever), but something was making her unhappy with his performance, because it wasn't long before she was jerking on his mouth and kicking him hard, a multitude of times! I know I can lose savvy sometimes and gain frustration too - we're all human, but man, she was really goin' at 'er! The part that flustered me, was that this horse, to all appearances, seemed very willing. He honestly was trying to do what she asked. Ah well *sigh*.
Missy did exceptionally well, even with blow-dryers going around her in the barn (a first for her), people and horses mucking about, and horses entering and leaving the arena during our session; she is still pretty energetic in the beginning of our ride and trying to anticipate me, but after a whole lot of fidgeting and about 5 minutes under-saddle, it finally clicked that she didn't have to do anything. Standing was actually *gasp* permissible. Lol. Her groundwork was great, as per usual, including some side-pass without the wall. Under-saddle, we worked on all the usual basics of a foundation that we have been working on recently, with a good portion (about 25 percent?) of trot today. Patterns, work on that outside rein (today was the first day she was 100 percent good with it, and its purpose seems to be clicking with her more), leg yields (at the walk), yields on the hind and fore (using that outside rein as well), side-pass, impulsion work (point to point), transitions (w/t), etc. We are getting some great bend and her trot today was actually much better balanced thanks to our recent works (ok, thanks to yesterday's work, mostly). This mare is funny (in a good way) - each work we do, seems, with all the progress she makes each time, as if we've worked more times than we actually have. If that makes sense. Take today, for example. Everything improved so much that it was as if we had been working on all the specific tasks all week! She is a wicked fast learner for sure, faster than most horses I know, I think in part because she has such a quiet, open, pliable, and mature mind. Link, for example, is brilliant, but his (reactive) emotions often get in the way of his learning and retaining information. Anyway, my last point to mention was that she was pretty easy to catch as well and was very good-minded overall!
No time for the other boys today, just a few pets to each (Link, Sonny, and Cody), though I will likely work with Link and Cody tomorrow. Petting Cody (as simple as it sounds), is actually very important to earning his trust anyways. Something I believe I neglected to mention in my post concerning our trip to the mountains, is Cody's behaviour on our second day there. We came out the morning of Day Two after the boys' morning breakfast; Koolaid made a point to make sure it looked like he was still eating (when we approached, he promptly took up post over the hay pile and started wolfing down hay *roll eyes*), but Cody actually left Koolaid and the hay to walk right up to us! I am not sure what was going on in his head, because both before and since he still acts the same (looks like he wants to approach but is scared to, initially walks towards you but then turns and walks away - watching you the whole while, if you approach him), but it was amazing. He strutted right up to me, his nose only inches from my chest. I was shocked, but also thrilled. It is still going to be a long road, no doubt, but there is trust down there (albeit deep) somewhere! Even so, he has a lifetime to learn to trust humans again, we're in no hurry ;)