Thursday night. I had been at the barn for quite a while by the time I got around to getting Xena out. I got her halter on, backed her through the gate, and headed off to the round corral. She leads absolutely perfectly now, loooots of slack in the rope, backs when I back, so light. We played some put your nose on the trailers on the way over, that was fun.
I let her follow me around the round corral for a few minutes. We play with getting her to yield both ends with both games, and some backing, all of which she does absolutely perfectly. So I see her looking for a place to roll, and take her halter off. Some day, I'll be able to sit down next to her, but first I'm going to have to break her pattern of getting up and bucking and galloping straight off. It's cute though! Lets me know she feels good. :)
By this time it was dark. I went to the barn to get something, and Xena was playing around by herself in the round corral. When I came back, I watched her for a minute. Then she came down to walk, after saying hello. I don't know what inspired me to do this, but I started walking around the outside of the fence with her. I just go where she goes, and we play the mirror game. Eventually she is taking me all the way around the fence line, instead of facing the gate. And soon enough we are trotting! And she's bucking and I'm laughing and we're playing like little kids, it's some kind of magic. Then she asks me where to go, so I test how much leadership I've got, and I trot around, and she comes with me! Then I do a fast change of direction and she flips right around and comes with me that way. Then I run faster, and she canters along! Then I reverse directions and she bucks and bucks and tosses her head and runs along with me. She snorts loudly, like she's breathing fire, like she used to do when she went super right brained. I realized there... this is the first time I've ever been confident in hearing her make that noise. I know she's just playing, and she's calm, and she's still paying attention to me! And that sound doesn't mean I'm about to hear scrambling hooves and get a rope burn, it means she's treating me like another horse. I'm not so scary anymore. Her snorting matches my heavy breathing as I'm trying to catch my breath from running. Eventually mom says it's time to go home, and I put her back.
Now, I really feel like she's accepted me as more than "that girl" with the orange stick that comes to do things with her.... I'm her friend! Come to think of it, she isn't out with other horses. I'm the only thing she's got. Good thing I know the games! When I first got her I didn't turn her out with anyone because I didn't want her to pair bond with another horse and get attatched. Actually I secretly hoped she would pair bond with me... I think it worked! :)