I took some good time with Z today. We started on the ground by leading in Z3 and asking her to shadow me and some other games. Then, I hopped on by asking her to sidle up to a jump I was standing on. We had a nice ride and focused on transitions and figure 8 patterns. There are 2 trees outside of my arena that are just perfect for figure 8 patterns. We practiced bridleless figure 8's there and everytime she offered a soft figure 8 w/o my intervention other than asking for the turns, we stopped in the middle and she could eat grass.
We stopped and I let her eat and eat. My boarder drove up during one of our rest sessions and I thought to myself, she must think I'm crazy. I'm sitting on my horse between 2 trees and she's eating grass. She's in a rope halter, I'm sitting in my western saddle, the sun is low in the sky and my horse and I are at peace with each other. It was a great moment.
My boarder unloaded Gemini, my horse that she's leasing who'd been off with her to prepare for a show, and Z was so calm and comfortable she didn't even respond to his arrival. I knew we were at a great place.
We rode a while longer, working on bridleless transitions and me working on my backwards cue w/o the reins.
I'm just feeling so positive about what we're building.