Stella is in an interesting mare. She came to my facility on Thursday after having a rough go at a boarding facility for a couple months. Seems the environment and the herd was really impacting her confidence. I played with her in that facility before she came to my place and focused on getting her calm and connected with fairly good success. She didn't want to catch me at first, however. It took about 30 mins for her to make the choice to be caught when I first met her.
Today was her first session in a new environment. It was also her first time in my indoor arena. I had a focus group going, so used her as my demo horse. She had 7 humans watching as I showed some basic maneuvering, forequarters and hind yields to start. Then, played with extreme friendly on the circle, seeking a connection. She did quite well with this! Happy to see that my first session with her made a lasting impression. That's very promising.
She started head-high and feet flying, full of tension. After about 5 mins, she was calm, blowing, dropping the poll. Things were going so well so quickly, I decided to play catching game in the arena so I could demo the feel of when to draw and when to drive. She was disconnected at first and it took her a little time to choose to ask a question. One she did, and got the relief, she had it all figured out. She had a hard time just standing with me for any length of time, though. Her tension would increase and she'd need to leave. No problem, just allowed us to play again.
We probably played the game about 7 times. Finally, she chose to stay. A really big change in her body, her tension, her connection. I then kept her with me to increase her feeling of connection while the others took turns doing similar playing with my coaching.
She walked out of the arena calm and soft. I was very pleased with her changes. Ready for the next session.