Daughter and I have been working with Dancer since separating her from her filly, Rain. Dancer needs to gain some weight, but mostly she needs to regain lost muscle - nursing baby and not being ridden/exercised left her rough shape.
She's doing well and I can see a little improvement. What I've noticed is a change in her attitude. Dancer had always been a little standoffish - Oh, she was friendly enough - especially if cookies (horse, not people) were involved. But just to come up to be petted or whatnot - well, that wasn't going to happen. She also hated being groomed.
All of a sudden - just since I rode the poor girl the other day - she's a different horse. I haven't given her treats in ages - trying to get away from that. She still moves away from the daughter, though she'll eventually come up to her, but I can't get away from her. It's almost funny! I don't tolerate shenanigans and pushy-ness, and that's not what Dancer is doing. She'll run up to me and stop a few feet away until and unless I hold my hand out to her. Then she'll let me do anything with her. Pick up her feet (wouldn't do that before), groom her without her moving off (she'll even lean into the brush) massage the sore muscle in her side - don't know how that happened, but it's no longer reactive, so I guess it's cleared up.
She'll work very well for me in the round pen - she changes direction correctly (most of the time, but she's still relearning and I've never really done it before). She turns toward me instead of away - I think that's good, yes? She'll speed up and slow down on command. She even backs off when I bring in her feed and hay until I tell her she can have it.
Here's the really stupid question: What did I do? Is it just because I'm not afraid of her at all? (daughter is a little still a little nervous around her, but that's getting better) Is it the method I use when lunging her (I'm firmer than daughter - again, I don't tolerate shenanigans - mistakes are one thing, bad behavior is something else).
Is it something I did, or is it just Dancer? I'm hoping it's something I did, because maybe it will work with the other horses.
Dancer is Spanish Mustang, most likely - I don't know if that has anything to do with it at all - she sure is different than any QH I've ever had. She's also alfa mare in our little herd, don't know if that makes any difference, either. (Though that was one of the first questions our trainer had.)
Sorry for the novel, but I'm really curious about what caused the change in her behavior.