Volker Bromman is giving a clinic at my barn this weekend, so there are several new horses on the premises temporarily. Additionally, the south doors of the indoor arena were opened for the first time today, giving a full view of the stalls housing the intruders. Luckily I had already planned to lunge, because upon entering the arena and taking in the various new stimuli, Willow had an extended thoroughbred moment. She started vibrating right away, and I was just able to get the side reins hooked up before she started a grand passage in stallion fashion, tail straight up and nostrils flaring. She then attempted a hysterical canter. I started some serious transition work to get her mind on me. It took about five minutes to talk her down from the ledge.
Happily, sustained hysteria really isn't Willow's thing. She can definitely let fly with some crazy antics from time to time, but she comes back to earth fairly quickly. Before long I had her long and low with a nice, stretchy, rubber-band style trot and a quiet canter. My ride was quite productive, although I kept it short because I suspect Willow's going to regret all that passage in the morning. I did have better luck shrinking the left canter circle tonight--I tried giving her a good hard bump with my right leg rather than just a subtle pulsation, and I saw the light bulb appear above her ears. Don't know why I didn't try that sooner. Tomorrow I'm going to try bumping her into canter half pass and see how that goes.