This is pretty much what Tessa thinks about my wanting her to trust me. She thinks I'm the snake who is going to eat her if she trusts me. This is something that is slowly, ever so painfully slowly, changing. I can't say that I blame her. She freaks out and I go "You're right, I'm terrified too!".
Today we had a fantastic ride. We weren't able to try on any saddles with Laura so I ended up just riding. I made sure to lunge the pony, even though she wasn't fresh at all. I needed to lunge her so that if she didn't want to go forward, we could have the argument on the ground and not in the saddle.
I hopped on and we had a mostly lovely ride, with minimal tranter and only a few big bucks. You know what the best part was? I wasn't afraid. Even when she bucked. It was perfect. Not because the ride was perfect, but because there was no fear.
It's a glorious day today (sunny! 51 degrees!!) so we decided to walk down the driveway. I exchanged her bridle for a halter with a long enough lead rope that she could circle around me if she needed to. We proceeded to stutter down the long drive way road. The gate made her blow and snort, eyes rolling, body tensed. Made it through the gate. Two steps and then she'd freeze. We slowly made our way down the driveway. At the end of the driveway lives a Palomino Paint who was very excited to hear another horse coming. We could hear him galloping and snorting. This was almost too much for poor Tess. Her head went up, her eyes went all psycho Arab and her tail flipped over her back. She went from 15 hands to 20 hands of twitchy, nervous horse.
This is where I realized my nerves were not going to help. I physically exhaled and made the executive decision to turn back home. She did nothing wrong or bad, but I was worried she was a half step away from checking out. Sometimes when she checks out, she wants to physically bump you. I'm pretty sure that the people who raised her let her find her comfort by walking WAY too close, because these has been an ongoing struggle for her. So I walked slowly down the driveway, trying to stay loose, while the pony minced behind me her body ready for take off at any moment.
Back through the gate where there were a few small whirls and snort and blows and back to the barn. It took a few minutes of walking around familiar property for her to come back, but she did. And then I put her in the wash rack and ended up washing all of her feet and her tail. She was nervous and a little jumpy, but settled down and only tried to kick out once. This was firmly corrected with a sharp smack to her belly. She looked at me like "Oh, sorry. I forgot you were back there." She hadn't been aiming at me, she was kicking out at her irritating, wet tail.