Isadora, "Izzy", is my first horse to really own. She's the first daughter of the lovely TB mare I leased for years and showed in everything. Her father is the Oldenburg Stallion Impressario. I acquired her this February, the result of a trade. I board her out with her mother, as I don't have the space to keep her at home.
She's 6 this summer, but you wouldn't know it be looking at her. Her first owner took her away to a different barn and visited her twice in 5 years. That is actually a blessing in diguise. The mare did receive some training by a cowboy in this period, but it was only 60 days when she was 4 or 5 and she was never taken out of a roundpen.
When her former owner brought her back to our barn, Izzy began to learn some really fun little games. She would rear and strike and act crazy, and her owner would scream and run away. Many of our fellow boarders were introduced to her by helping her owner chase her around the barn as she spooked and bolted. Riding was out of the question, as was lunging, leading, picking up her feet, or anything else she didn't want you to do.
This was the state I acquired her in. I had seen her and admired her, but never attempted to handle her in any way. I didn't want to bond with someone else's horse.
On Sunday, February 1st, I traded Izzy's owner a baby horse I had rights to in exchange for this supposed train wreck of a horse. It was an incredible day.
The first few months I had her were mostly filled with hours of somewhat frustrating groundwork. She had to be convinced, gently but firmly, that she had to do things my way. No more rearing and bolting; now she had to go to work. I finally began to ride her in April, after teaching her to stand, pick up her feet, load in a trailer, lunge quietly, and accept both saddle and bridle without fussing.
I began to ride her more seriously (more than just mounting and dismounting) in May, after school got out. We've taken everything very slowly, because we're building the foundation that all her future training will be built on. Now, however, we're finally ready to start moving forward.