So… it’s kind of amazing really. But Venice has gone through something of a sea change in the last couple of weeks. She is now learning very quickly.
There is still a ton of work to do of course. She is very head shy, so I have to be very slow and deliberate when I’m clipping a lead shank to her halter. And I cannot touch her face yet. It’s okay if she makes the choice to touch me (and she does that often). But it must be her choice. The pressure is too great if I reach towards her. But I can touch her cheek now, and can take hold of the halter by the throatlatch. So there is progress on that front too.
She is leading much more reliably now, and has not startled away or tried to bolt for a week or two. I can draw her towards me and back her away (either with a touch to the chest, or just by walking into her space).
In the last couple of days, she has learned several voice cues… “walk”, “trot”, and “whoa”. Trot and whoa seem to be solid already. The walk cue is a bit harder, but it’s obvious she understands it, she just has a bit more energy than is optimal for a walk and sometimes breaks up to a trot, especially when she’s a bit tense.
Her circles to the left are excellent. Round, relaxed and forward. She keeps her focus tightly on me, no matter what else is going on. Her inside ear is locked on all the time. She is soft, light, and nicely bent.
Her circles to the right are more difficult for her. But they have improved tremendously, and are now mostly round. She’s not totally relaxed, and so is not going freely forward yet (though markedly better each day). But she is moving on as long as I encourage her periodically. And even though she’s unsure going to the right, she’s still very focused on me, and responds to to the voice cues.
She is really a little darling!