I'm feeling very discouraged.
My mom and I have literally spent years and years training our warmblood mare. It's never been easy, and it still isn't easy. Before we got her, she was trained very much more in the "rolkur" type methodology... the rider cranked her in, kicked her up, and rode her. This caused lameness and greatly increased her spookiness. Also, her conformation is far less than ideal for dressage. She has a long back, haunches that look too small for her body, and a bit of a pencil neck. We were somewhat naive when we got her, so we didn't realize that there were all of these problems.
So we have spent over 10 years doing whatever we can to improve these issues... and it has gotten better. She doesn't come up lame, she's not as spooky, etc. But at the end of the day, every ride is spent trying to rebalance her on that "tightrope". She will revert back to her extremely heavy on the forehand training in an instant, the very moment her rider is not vigilant.
A lady who fancies herself a classical dressage rider came out to try our mare out with the intention of potentially leasing her. She emailed me tonight saying that our mare's training was not "up to par" with her more "traditional" riding style. She basically implied that we must not be actually working with our mare on lightness and balance. For me, it just goes to show that we have poured our blood sweat and tears into training this mare only to be told at the end of it all that it hasn't really made any difference. She still rides like a horse that can't really collect and hold herself in a balanced frame. Other riders don't feel the outcome of any of the training we've tried so desperately to put in... it just seems to them that we must be "those" dressage riders who let their horse travel on the forehand and just crank their head in and kick up their hind legs a bit.
I can't bring myself to tell my mom what the lady said. She'll just feel like she somehow didn't do enough...