Ghost was the easiest horse to catch today! And each time I came back for another horse, she kept wanting to come out again!! Wow, that felt great. And any time I walked by with another horse, she met me at the fence with a very exuberant expression. I love her!
So Xena was super awesome today. It was wonderful weather, like 50-something and I didn't have to wear a jacket! So I got to play with all 8 of them, which is always nice. When I got there, Xena was half asleep in the sun when I got there, so I left her alone at first. Of course the local Barn Nazi has to go in her pen and mess with her because like all the other ever-popular Barn Nazis, they know everything. *rolling eyes* The only thing he's ever done is either say something completely bogus (usually either myth, tradition, or BS), or validate what I already knew was going on with her. Don't you love when the official know-it-all at the barn makes you feel like you don't know what you're doing? Or at least make you feel like they think you don't know what you're doing. Emotional fitness, emotional fitness, emotional fitness. Anyway, he walks into her pen, starts doing something with her. He didn't have permission to go in, either from me or more importantly, Xena. Then after like 20 minutes of being in there and me trying my best to hang out with the minis and ignore him... he comes up and goes on about how much my horse "loves him" because she fell asleep while he was petting her. Cowboy, she was asleep BEFORE YOU GOT THERE!!!! Auuughh. Then he goes on about how she looks totally harmless and I should saddle her up and ride her right then. Uhh... NO! I usually avoid taking her out when he's there because he always does something like this, so he hasn't seen me really play with her, and he hasn't seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, of her developement... or lack there of. He hasn't seen how if she is scared or confused she can buck and kick both of her hind legs over my head. *rolling eyes again.*
So I wait for 1. her to kind of wake herself up and it be her idea to play and 2. Barn Nazi to leave. This finally happens pretty late, after dark. The round corral had started to dry up, and I don't know, something about the way the distant arena lights and moon were shining on it, it looked strangely inviting. So I ask permission to enter her pen, and after a minute of contemplating, she came up to meet me at the gate. She put her nose in the halter! Then I yo-yo'ed her out of the gate, which has been difficult for her, but she gets it faster every time. It's so cool when you can literally see them thinking about something. So off to the round corral. I let her roll and jump around first, then went in to play with her. She caught me almost immediately and followed me around. The big arena was being tractored, which usually bothers her. But tonight she just felt SO connected to me. We were working on getting the seven games going well, and she was actually really trying. She was moving from the pressure!! Even the driving game backwards!! And the yo-yo she wasn't objecting too much to the halter on her face. It was amazing!
So the tractor would come around and her first response was to come stand by me with her head down. First I was wondering if she was just unconfident in staying out by herself, then I realized... when she used to get scared of things, her major problem was that her instinct was to resist the people and save herself.... and here she was coming to me, trusting me to protect her from the tractor. I never thought that would happen! That's exactly what we needed. I feel like we are actually acting more like partners now.
So as I was sitting there with her under the black sky and stars, it reminded me of that scene in the Flicka movie, where the girl is sitting in the round pen with crazy Flicka, gaining her trust, in the dark middle of the night when nobody is watching. Just like when I played with her in CA, when we had to do the same thing, late at night after the barn closes, to avoid being "caught" by the anti-Parelli barn police lol. Me and Xena - the real Flicka story. :)
There's just something about sharing a bonding moment, with a mustang, in the dark, when all you can see is each other's silhouettes... that feels kind of...magical.
So I yo-yo'ed her (pefectly!) out through the round corral gate after the tractor left. She followed me (perfectly!) back to her pen. Then I took her halter off, got her scratchy spots, just felt like staying with her forever.
You know you're doing Parelli when.... all of your horses whinny to you when you get to the barn and play "pick me, pick me!" when you go out to them. When you can't remember the last time you had a bad horse day. When you feel a strong bond with all of them. And most of all, as you pull out of the parking lot after spending 8 hours at the barn, you don't want to leave, and as you drive away you think "I miss them already!"