Got a message from a past student a couple of days ago with a very well put observation.
Over last summer she had done a lovely piece of training with her horse to help him with his worries about trailer loading - very slow and observant, really listening to him and taking things at his pace.
He had been a bit 'off' coming out of winter, and she was keeping an eye on him, looking for something to perk him up. For various reasons, as the trailer was out, she decided to try loading him. He did brilliantly, and the next day was full of enthusiasm when she arrived. Her comment was 'it's amazing how spending some quality time with him made him so happy'.
When I first got involved with horses, I think I'd have considered quality time with them as going out on a long hack, or maybe grooming - but more from the perspective of what I enjoyed, unless the horse was really clearly unhappy about the activity! A trailer loading training session definitely wouldn't have been on the list.
I've seen this often, how working at the horse's pace through a fear issue can transform a relationship, and also this training becomes something they really enjoy. The phrase 'quality time' was so accurate; when we can slow down and really pay attention to them and help them feel better about their worries in life, it can mean so much to them. And we can then bring this pace and attitude to other areas of our work with them, and build on a solid foundation.