Bella and I had a great training session today. I think I was a bit over-optimistic about where we could start off though. I saddled and bridled her and took her into the round pen.
But first I must digress. Poor Tonka thought he was going to get to do something fun when I went into the round pen with a halter for the first time since he was condemned to "round pen rest" for his tendon injury. He was so excited to be caught. But all I did was lead him out and tie him to the outside. He really thought it should be all about him so he tried sticking his legs through the fence to get my attention. (Doesn't he know that's not good for his tendons?) I ignored him and he quit after a few tries.
Bella is an introvert - right brain, I think, but I can't remember the Parelli terminology very well. She internalizes a lot and she'll "shut down" or go off into la-la land if she's overwhelmed. Then if it gets bad enough she'll "blow up" but that doesn't happen often. So it presents an interesting training situation. I have to push her, of course, or she won't learn, but I also have to try not to get to the point where she shuts down. If she starts to get that distant, far off look, I gently apply pressure to the lead, asking her to look at me, and I say her name in a gentle, friendly way. Then I usually say, "Hi there, remember me?"
Anyway, we did some basic work. A little moving this way and that, slapping and wiggling the saddle, etc. Nothing big, everything gentle and slow, except when she was pointedly blowing me off, then I stepped toward her with slightly more intention and that's all it takes to startle her into thinking about doing the right thing. She's so sensitive.
When I took the bridle off she relaxed quite a bit. So obviously that's a distraction for her. I gave her some carrots and did some super easy stuff that she does well, and we ended on a relaxed, happy note. We'll keep on working, gently and slowly. I don't think she's ready for much riding, if any, yet.