Bella has been with me for over two weeks now and I have been playing with her for just over one week. Some general thoughts about my initial experiences with her:
- She is such a sweet girl and tries really, really hard. She definitely wants to be a “good girl” and wants to do the right thing.
- She is very food motivated 🙂
- She is fairly worried and skeptical about things, but only certain things. The far end of the arena is scary, but she isn’t the typical kind of “plastic bag” spooky.
- If she thinks she is tied up (when I lay the rope of the fence) she stands like a rock and allows me to do whatever I need to do. But if she doesn’t think she is tied, she doesn’t want me touching her hind legs. She always stands well for blanketing and even stood well for me to wash her belly off with extremely cold water, which was very sweet of her.
- She loves to be groomed all over, but there’s a difference when she thinks we are “training.” When the halter is on, she doesn’t love for me to stand beside her withers and especially not towards her butt. But if I were to just walk up to her in the field I can stand wherever I want.
- She really wants to back up and face me when I stand beside her. I am not sure if this is a confidence/safety thing or if it’s related to getting treats or if it is something she has been taught?
- She has very little body awareness and tends to run into you with her big booty, but not on purpose. She also tends to push into you with her shoulder when walking.
So my general assessment is that she is a little more nervous about things than I initially expected based on her “grooming” behavior, but I think it will be such a great experience for me. Estella is very confident and I can already tell that being with Bella is going to open my awareness to so many new things that I don’t experience with Estella.
So for the week I have played with Bella, I have set my intentions on expanding calmness in everything we do. Which means we’ve been doing a whole lot of “nothing much” ;). I have introduced her to the head down cue that was part of my B.A.S.E. course with OneHorseLife. I think this cue will give me great feedback on her calmness and confidence with me and different situations. She understood it very quickly! I have also been gradually touching her legs and body and thanking her for when she allows me to without moving. I recently introduced shoulder yielding and she has started offering trot! Such a sweet gift, I am so grateful!
Here are four of our training sessions. They are only about 10-15 minutes long, so I thought I could upload the whole session but DSL internet has totally different ideas about that. After waiting 4 hours for a 7.5 minute video to upload, I will stick to just a few minutes. Welcome to the country!