So I finally got back a few hours ago from the Hemophilia camp Lacey and I were helping out with and boy, oh boy am I proud of Lacey!
She did super well with having little kids on her, her only issue was that she had never been ridden by someone really really small so she had a hard time understanding what the smaller kids were asking. I was leading her though so she didn't get too confused.
She was also great for me riding her. It turned out that the camp wasn't actually at the beach so we weren't able to ride on the beach but it was in the coastal mountains so there was tons and tons of wildlife (elk, big cats, deer, quail..etc) and really beautiful views.
Every night we went on 2-3 hour long trail rides (on beautiful abandoned logging roads) and each time Lacey was a complete steady eddy. She only spooked (just a little jump back, nothing big) once when a large flock of quail came shooting out of the bushes but she was easily calmed. She turned out to be an awesome leader so she lead most of the trial rides. We even rode in the complete darkness, on a road she had never been on before without any issues.
I even rode her quite a bit in a halter instead of a bridle, with just the lead lope to the halter to guide her, neck reining one direction and direct reining the other. And on top of that, she only began learning how to neck rein 2 months ago or less.
This trip was so great for us, my confidence in her ability to trust me and deal with stuff has pretty much skyrocketed. I can't hardly believe that this is the same horse that I didn't feel comfortable riding less than 4 months ago because she was so reactive. I can't believe that I was the person that was able pretty much rock her world and change her life. She is totally fulfilling my dreams and people can just tell when they see us together that I'm fulfilling her dreams too.
I'm just completely in awe of how a great horse just seems to have appeared in the body of my reactive, "crazy", ADHD, "dangerous" horse. She's being like a phoenix or something.
I guess that goes to show what gentle handling and kindness mixed with love can do for the heart of a horse.