I had the good fortune to share an afternoon with a close friend of mine whom I haven't seen in a while and introduce her to Aspen.
Aspen was quite good from the start, we did some basic warm up with an excellent figure-8 and she really zeroed in on the tire to put her foot on it. Every time she gets more confident, which I can see by her investigating and pawing at the tire as she stands on it. It's cool to see how pleased she is with herself for figuring out what I want and going for it. I really hope to recreate these small moments in other areas of our play.
I tacked her up and she stood very patiently while being saddled and even walked off onto a circle really nice but then went into a little bucking / kicking fit for a few laps before emphatically tossing her head and running back to me. It definitely felt like a fun, left brained, kick up my heels, opinionated moment rather than a scared right brain, get the saddle off moment. I can be okay with that. :)
I took her into the round pen to just test out some stuff at Liberty. I sent her out on a circle which she promptly zoomed off on, bucking and kicking, before trying to come back into me. I politely asked her to stay on the circle which apparently she did not want to do and told me so by leaping and kicking in the air! Again Aspen offered to come back in and I, once again, politely asked her to stay out on the circle. I feel very confident in our draw, which at first I wanted to preserve at all costs, but now I know she understands what I want and I feel like she comes in because she just doesn't want to run in circles and knows that if she comes in she gets to rest and stand with me for scratches. So now I know that I can acknowledge her offer to come in but be firm about my request for a circle. Well, when I asked her back out on her circle she just took off! The wind picked up and I'm not sure if she got a little startled because her frolicking and leaping circles turned into a borderline RB run. I let her do as many laps as she needed before I could sense a change in her attitude in which case I asked her to come back to me. She enthusiastically ran to me and stuck to me like glue! Back up, run forward, turn this way and that. It was neat to have such a strong Stick To Me but every now and then she was spooking at something in the wind and I was afraid she'd jump on top of me. I kept walking around incorporating lots of changes of direction and a few driving games here and there until I felt she was calmer before calling it quits. I was really surprised to see how much energy and umph she had at Liberty today...
I have really been seeing a lot more LB tendencies in her - while she'll spook and go RB sometimes and goes RB with too much pressure when I'm teaching new things, I think innately she's LBE. I've been all over the map on this horse for her Horsenality but the more confidence she gains the more I see a horse I could really have a long term partnership with. She has the pizzazz for a demo horse, the athletic ability for sports, and enough sensitivity and bonding to be a sweet partner.
My barn owner informed me that there have been wolf sitings on and around her property. The game warden has come out and talked to her about their presence and think the wolves are juveniles and most likely will not harass the horses... I guess they're going to try and trap or kill the wolves when they can. Eeek - scary!
Send good thoughts for Aspen's safety!