Today was the first day that I have really felt like there was any kind of bond developing between me and the pony beast. I began using a new method for catching her in the field, and surprisingly (or not so surprising) it took much less time to catch her. When I walk out into the field she instantly realizes I'm coming for her, and begins walking or trotting away. So today I brought a whole handful of peppermints with me, and I walked towards the herd. I first walked up to Max, crinkled the wrappers, and gave Max a peppermint. I soon had the whole herd following me, but it still took a few minutes to catch the beast.
Once I got her though, we went inside and I pulled all the burrs out of her mane, tail and ears. I went outside and set up a small cross rail with a chute on either side. She followed me as I moved standards and poles, genuinely curious about what was going. She seemed happy to be out and about playing around instead of working under saddle. I started by leading her through the chute, letting her follow me, with no halter or lead rope. Everything she did was her choice, and she is extremely responsive to body language. I have been able to reach a point with her where she drops her head and chews - a sign reflecting her desire to develop a bond with her human.
After she was comfortable going through the chute, I put it up to a cross rail, and pushed her back and forth through it several times. To my surprise she LAUNCHED herself over the fence, showing me form I never would have expected from the little beastie. She may actually have some potential after all - now we just need to make sure humans don't ruin her natural form! Though that is usually the case.
I pushed her over each height a few times until we got up to 2'6. That height continued to be no problem for her. The next step will be to develop her stride and sense of self in teaching her to find her distances. I can begin this work in the spring when I begin working with Anne and the two lovely ladies. In the spirit of christmas I printed the following photos for Jim Bob, and wrote him a note thanking him for the opportunity to work with his mare. The people around me have been incredibly gracious in giving me the opportunity to prove myself and bring out the potential in their horses. There is something about the damaged creatures that really draws me towards them. Somehow we just click, and the more of myself I give to this mare, the more she gives me in return. I guess some horses are just like that.