I have felt a lot of emotional attachment to my animals over the years, but with my horses it has often been about getting what I wanted. Today I think Tesoro and I went to the next level of a trust and I feel my heart warming.
I have been riding Tesoro primarily bareback and with a rope halter for the last few months. We have just been relaxing and enjoying each other's company. I asked Gina Gardner to give me a lesson and to get her observation about his leg/hock and to get some strengthening exercises. She came last weekend and we also had a gaggle of people watching, which works Tesoro up a bit (it usually makes me nervous so, he feeds off of that). For my lesson I put in his bit for better engagement which also makes him nervous. It was a good ride, he worked well and settled down.
Today, he was very calm, but the old habit of not standing for mounting came out again. He wasn't erratic as in the past, but he was definitely moving around and I was going to ride bareback, so I needed him to stand still next to the mounting block.
Instead of getting mad or frustrated with him, instead I said to myself 'how can I gain his trust'. So we just went back to the 7 games, I gave him lots of affection with the friendly game and in 5 minutes he was standing still. It was our best bareback ride ever.