This afternoon I had an awesome day with Hola! She was such a good girl! I took her out to a new arena for the first time in months. It is also the first time that I've tried to work with her around horses (that she doesn't know). We had Ella and friends horse J. working right there in the arena with us and there were two horses sharing a fence with the arena. My goal for today was simply to have her stand quietly and in one relative spot when asked. I also wanted her to lead respectfully and to allow me to move her body around with driving pressure, touch and my "horsemanship stick" :P
Hola was awesome. She showed great confidence, was very respectful and was pretty damn calm about walking by the other horses even when they were trotting up the fence. We stayed at the arena for about an hour and a half and I probably spent three quarters of that time with her standing quietly in the shade. What I was really impressed with was, rather than getting tired and cranky and starting to make a fuss towards the end, she actually settled and became more responsive as time went on. When we got home I tied her to the wall right away and decided it was as good of a time as any to try spraying her with the hose while tied. I only did her legs and chest because that's what she's most comfortable with. She was fine with it. All in all it was another very successful day. I am so lucky to board off of a lady who is willing to take the time to halter and lead her in and out of the field/stall and who has really instilled a respect for space and boundaries. I think that has had a huge impact on her overall attitude and with how great she is to handle.
Right now Hola is going through stage where she really wants to try things on for size and see what she can get away with. So far a gentle reminder has been sufficient to get her to think twice about second guessing the rules.... Well, Yesterday Hola, for the first time since I've had her, decided to give kicking out a try (she was jacked up and loose in the field) let's just say it didn't go over so well... I don't think she will be trying that again anytime soon. Bless her heart, it was worth a shot:)
This afternoon she tried to get in to the barn (she knows she has to wait to be asked). Ella was standing there ground tied behind her... Well Hols was quickly and emphatically shushed out of the barn but on her way out her foot caught Ella's line and somehow it whipped up and smacked her in the belly! Well later in the day I was throwing the lead over her back and belly and she was much more concerned about anything touching her belly than she has been in the past. She even did a little crop/crowhop when I tightened the lead I had wrapped around her belly. By the end of the day she was back to being good about it but it really emphasized for me why it is so important to try to create positive experiences and reminded me how easily and quickly they remember a negative!