Sorry for the lack of updates, been busy, busy, busy.
Her training has been going extremely well, to start with. Since her one half hearted attempt at bouncing, she has been good as gold. Went down to the rider, rode along highways with motor cycles, trucks with air brakes, cyclists, travel trailers, gone under traffic bridges, past people toting blow up rafts, by cattle, etc. I ponied another horse off her, started on neck reining and she doubles. She's almost got leg aids down pat. As a big perk, she's one of the 'caring' types that doesn't like her rider coming off. As soon as you loose balance, she stops. I trusted her so much that I gave a beginner a short w/t/c lesson in the arena. As soon as the beginner lost balance, she shifted down a gait until they got their balance back.
Since she was doing so great, I decided to take her to the mountains last weekend. She loaded and trailered extremely well(first time on a trailer since her very first trailer ride at ten months), unloaded and stood tied quietly for hours, even while the older, more experienced horses danced around her. I took her for a bareback ride in a halter around camp, through a few stream crossings and along a field the first night, and she was like an old pro.
We ponied her the first ride, because it was the toughest ride in the area with tons of ascending and decending, we had an extra horse and she is by far the best horse to pony of the whole herd. I don't even think she needed a lead. When we stopped for breaks we just let her go, she'd grab a few bites to eat and off we'd go again. She was a little wobbly coming down the very steep decent, but you cant really blame her, she had to slide down part of it.
Then the next day we did 10+ miles, she was shoulder deep in water in a lake, did a couple crossings of a fast, cold river, lots of creek crossings, found a few deer and trotted over some pretty rough trails without ever loosing her footing.
I just cant believe how EASY everything is with this horse. She was behaving better than almost any horse there, all of whom were at least 7 years older than her, with hundreds more miles. Ties for hours quietly in any circumstance? check. stand quietly on the side of a mountain in a hail storm? check. rides over, under or through anything without a fuss? check.
I cant tell you how nice it is to have a horse like this. I've worked with all sorts of horses for years, and most of them had big issues that required a lot of time and effort to correct. She just...goes. She has enough personality to keep things interesting, but give her a problem and she thinks through it, and gives you the answer. No fuss, drama, panicking, spooking, fit throwing, refusing, nada. Without further ado, pictures.
The view at the top
break on the way down. You can see her butt on the right
at the lake
approaching the falls
standing for lunch
approaching her first swift water river crossing. Not 100% convinced, but she went.