This week I have really settled into AND/NHE again with Sora. It had been awhile since I spent much real time with her that didn't involve more pressure so it took her a little while to relax and try to listen again. As soon as she did, however, things went swimmingly.
I started out by wanting to take her on a trail walk but she didn't want to even allow me to catch her so I put her stuff away and got out the fly gunk, all three different bottles of it. I went to put it on her ears and she pulled her head away (like normal) so I moved a couple of steps back, crouched down, closed my eyes and explained to her in my head what I was trying to do. When I opened my eyes she was standing closer and I stood up and slowly reached out my hand towards her ear. She held perfectly still and let me rub it in which is normally impossible. I was so happy that that had worked that we played around a little in the pasture. At one point she froze and wanted to share breath with me. I blew slowly into her nose, breathing in incredible horse breath with my eyes closed while her chin rested on my shoulder. We stood like that for almost five minutes. It is amazing the images that came into my head as we stood like that in calm, quiet communication.
After that I was kept away by two days of storm but I was out again yesterday. We were in the arena together right next to the road when a huge, noisy tractor came by. All the horses along the road were galloping and screaming and Sora screamed back but I just ignored her and ran up to the fence to watch the tractor pass. As it was right next to us Sora trotted up to the fence next to me (towards the tractor) and watched it and the truck behind it pass like she was watching a parade, all calm happiness. It was only then that I realized that the man in the truck behind the tractor was one of our biggest doubters who can not get it into his head that she is no longer afraid of vehicles. He ignored me for the rest of the night which is perfectly fine with me.
After the tractor was gone I worked on our two newest behaviors, passing to me and passing away from me. I worked on lining her up to the fence and getting her to do shoulder and haunches in. It wasn't pretty but we did do a couple of nice steps and at one point she offered it so beautifully with a hint of collection that I was jumping up and down and squealing and we both capered around a bit :)^Not us, yet ;)