Yesterday, we made Izzy's third trip ever to the doom bubble (aka the neighbor's indoor arena. It's inflatable). A friend of mine was having a lesson on Dart, the schoolmaster, so we trooped over together.
To my surprise, Izzy was actually fairly good. She still wouldn't go in the dark 10x10 box we have to enter and close off to keep the arena from losing air pressure, but when Cathy came out and encouraged her, she stepped right in. She managed not to run over the top of me when I opened the door to let her in the arena. She was quite happy that Dart was there.
We lunged for probably 20 minutes. I tried to pretty much ignore the fact that we were in a scary bubble of doom and focus on getting good transitions while on the lunge. She did a couple of aeronautical leaps when launching in to right lead canter, but other than that, she was good. So good, that after 20 minutes, I was actually ready to get on. (You may remember last time, in which we simply lunged for 30-40 minutes and she never really settled down).
Cathy held her for me to mount, but after that, we were on our own. It was no where near as good as when we rode outside, but I maintained that feeling of security I'd had outdoors. We did a lot of walk trot transitions, but the half of the arena farther from the door is where Izzy was comfortable, and that was also the end that the lesson was on. Dart is a good old boy, but he moves really SLOW, even when he's actually excited. After about 20 minutes of trying not to run him over (which he wouldn't have minded, but his rider probably would), it must have started to warm up outside. The snow began to slide off of the translucent roof in sheets. I have to admit, to a frazzled mare, that probably looks like the sky is falling, and she reacted accordingly.
I was staying on all right, and she was being better than could be expected, but I figured that was enough. I hopped off, snapped on the lunge line, and we just stood and watched the rest of the lesson and the snow sliding off the roof. To her credit, Izzy only spooked one more time, and then seemed to realize that the snow wouldn't hurt her. She stood quite well for the rest of the time.
Dart has some pretty serious separation anxiety issues, so the lessoner took him out first. Izzy, the typical cranky mare, could care less if she was left alone. I was impressed. She even walked home very calmly for the most part.
Whew. I look forward to taking her back over there tomorrow.