I'm leaving for my lesson in a few minutes, but I want to post briefly on our progress this year.
I started working with Izzy in February, at which point she had barely been handled, and the handling she had taught her that she could dominate humans, and it was fun.
The most important thing was that I was consistent with her. She could spin and bolt and rear, but I'd just pick up where she left off and make her go back to work. I was in school at this point, so we didn't do much under saddle, but we had enough to work out on the ground that when I got out in May, it was just the right time to start under saddle.
Izzy seemed to learn fairly quickly, but it didn't take long for us to be hampered by saddle fit problems. She's a very picky mare, and I want her to be the best she can, so we are being very careful with this issue. Once we switched to a treeless saddle, we were able to progress much faster than ever before.
A big milestone was our first dressage clinic together. It helped us to take a big leap forward and learn about developing her rhythm and regularity.
The next major milestone was having Katie ride Izzy. I needed to see someone else ride her through some of her problems and know I was on the right track.
I would say our latest milestone was on Tuesday, when Izzy and I conquered the indoor arena together. It's maybe not as big of a deal as the previous two, but it shows the progress we've made, and the whole thing was done without commotion or flaring tempers or rearing or anyone getting upset. To me, it's a marker of how far we've come in ten months.
On to the New Year!!
I don't want to just stumble blindly through these years with Izzy, so I'm trying to make plans that will allow us the maximum amount of progress. My long term goals for her something like this:
--Be a successful event/dressage horse
In my world, however, successful means fun and safe. I don't care if we go to the Olympics. I doubt I'd ever want to ride past prelim, even if Izzy has the talent and motivation for it. I just want to go out and have fun and not worry about my physical safety.
--Be a fun, safe trail horse
Again, we're not looking to win the Tevis Cup. I just want to be able to saddle up and go trail riding with her. I want her eventually to be ok in company or alone.
--Be a calm, safe partner for whatever we end up doing
I want to jump and compete a bit still, but I'm ok if Izzy decides this isn't her cup of tea. We'll find something. In the mean time, I just want to enjoy my relationship with my horse and the benefits it brings.
I'll post more specifically on our goals for the coming year next time... I have to go to my lesson now.