Updating right after posting, but I meant to post the intro a week ago!
When I first started working with Angel, she would kick out with her back feet when you asked for them and just plain wouldn't pick up the front ones. Now, she does it flawlessly and puts them back down gently, no stomping allowed! Her hooves are much longer than I am comfortable with, and getting chips along the edges and I'm desperate for a farrier to come trim her. I'm getting in contact with him this week as well and will hopefully have him out within a month. (He lives 6 hours away. Go figure.)
This mare is so flubby!! She has been eating to her hearts content and not exercising, so there is no muscle in this girl. I'm starting her round penning this week as well to start working her back into a routine and build up some of that muscle she'll need when we EVENTUALLY start riding. Which I'm not even thinking about right now, there's too much else to work on.
Angel is going to be an incredible trail horse. I've seen her in several stressful situations since getting to know her, and she is not spooky. Another horse went into a bucking fit right beside her and she let me quietly untie her and lead her calmly out of the way. She was nervous, but she didn't react negatively. She also has no reaction to plastic bags, ropes, throwing brushes and rocks around, motorcycles, cars, children... Anything I've been able to throw at her.
Tonight we worked on the ever scary fly spray. Paul (barn manager) told me she's terrible with it so I wanted to see what we could do. Started by holding her lead and spraying to the side. Didn't phase her. She didn't like when I started spraying her legs, and I let her walk, circling her around me. (Like fake lunging!) Her circles were calm, she was content to move her feet to ease her nerves. Once I whoa'd and she settled, I sprayed again. When she stood still and accepted the spray without walking off, I stepped back and praised her and let her have a break.
I'm not sure if this is the conventional method, but by the end of the night she was being sprayed from head to toe with almost zero reaction. Paul was shocked.
Also took her for a walk with another mare and her owner, and she was, well, an Angel. Other horse owners are starting to trust her now that they see me working with her and that she's not "scary" like they thought!
These good things said, I also had a moment yesterday where I was leading from the pasture (had a good 20 acre walk to the gate) and the entire herd decided to gallop to the gate ahead of me. Angel immediately began trotting. I settled her down to a walk, but after probably three seconds she BOLTED. I'm talking full on gallop. Off she went, lead rope flapping in the wind! When I found her, she was looking miserable by the gate, standing on the rope with her back legs and unable to move her head. Quickly fixed her up, trotted her back down the field and walked back up with no bolting problems.
Oh, she also follows me to the gate now without lead rope or halter, which I've begun utilizing so the bolting isn't an issue. I bring my rope and halter down wherever she is, show her an apple and walk away. She follows, no matter how far the distance is. At the gate she gets treats and I put her halter on and bring her out! Much easier. (People say she's hard to catch... Bah.)
That's all for now! Things are going well.