She was the most standoffish horse ever, really. She'd be caught. She'd ride. She'd let you groom her. She obediently and softly picked up all her feet from one side. But she didn't like anything.
Imajin BN Broke. What a name. Her mother was a little tiny mare named Spec. Her daddy was Dr. Haught's stud. Both squirrelly. Bottom of the pecking order. She liked to come in but it seemed as much because she wanted to be invisible in a stall as anything else.
Then one day I went to get her. I had in mind a nice little ride in the fields I think. I put her in a stall. I likely gave her some grain because I usually do that with the field horses I bring in. And something that day made me scratch on her shoulder, right where the neck comes in. Maybe I was grooming her, maybe it was before that. But I could tell she liked it, even though there were really no outward signs. It was likely an exhale, or a relaxation of the eye and ears. That small. Until I stepped away from her and she turned so as to "give" me the shoulder again, asking me to keep scratching.
That was the first ever interaction with me initiated by her. I scratched her for a long time. Then I took her back out to the field and turned her out again.
In a lot of ways we've come a long way since then. Not nearly so far as I would have liked to. Gosh, I would like to have done so much. But she canters now, at least in a manner of speaking. We don't have the nice dressage transitions to it still, STILL, but she's usually willing. Even online she will canter now, and she's offered it at liberty boomerang come to me. She gets stuck sometimes if we are riding out and there is not a horse to follow but with a little work we can get past it, but it does take the work. She will step in most any puddle. She doesn't like trailers. She will get on the stock trailer, and with skilled help I can get her on other things but she doesn't much like it. You know, so there is stuff. She can make me feel like I am so freaking ignorant. I am so fascinated at the layers we go through -- like how now she can sometimes have "happy feet" where she used to be so stuck, so "if I'm really really still, no one will see me".
But if I go into the field, she comes. Maybe slow with the grass in, but she knows I'm her heard. Sometimes, but not always, she'll play with me. It is in there. If I can get that out, she'll do for me. That I'm sure of. And she loves to be scratched now, in a lot of different places, and she will do the reciprocal thing too. And that's a big deal for her. And for me.
And the last time playing with her, she put all four feet on the pedestal and stood there. She's always liked the pedestal but ours is a little small and she is a big horse but once she was up there she was like, oh. And I emptied my pockets and scratched her belly and then we ate grass on the way back out.
Now I'm riding her half brother Whiskers too. He is very much like her in body, less squirrelly in mind. A solid citizen. But oh I so do not have his heart yet. I may only have half of Jin's heart, even in all this time, but his is not mine. And only time will break through that. Time and scratches.
So today I spent all morning grooming and searching for those spots, and working on him asking me questions. And this afternoon on getting some more language. Jin watched this last from her field.