Frustrating Power Struggle
As I've stated before, I am really new to hoses. I am 32 years old and have been doing weekly lessons for about 3 months now. I work from home (I am a Certified Vet Tech for the small animal side, I now do practice management consult work). I started leasing my 9 yo Paint Mare about a month ago. I did this for a number of reasons, the main being that 30 minutes/week was not enough hands on for me to accomplish my goal. Since I started the lease I have been doing ground work with her daily (I only miss days when I have to take my daughter to her chemo appointments 4 hours away). Just yesterday I was given the clear to ride Leagum on my own. (Although I'm leasing her, I am not going to chance anything and ride alone before I was ready and needed to wait for my instructor's ok). Leagum ALWAYS focuses on my instructor vs me when I am on her back. She is better about focusing on me on ground now. So I am happy that I can work with her daily on back (actually I am going to split the time I spend on ground and on her back to 3 days each/week for now). She did better today than the past few lessons. She wants to take me in the center of the arena all of the time. Granted I am really new and my reaction is not natural or reactive...I have to think, and sometimes she has already made up her mind. So she will take me in the middle, stop, back up, turn in circles, throw up her head. Just really naughty, rude power struggle stuff. I know she is testing me to see if I will give up. I won't, I guarantee that! We did so well today, we were really feeling each other. She was doing so well I was able to go from direct to neck reigning (which I had to recently switch to due to our power struggle), trot, do figure 8's, circles, etc. We have never been able to do this. It was so exciting. So I asked her to walk to cool down, and she had to take me in the middle and start backing up, turning, throwing her head up, etc. I was so mad because I thought we were going to end on a really positive note, but then she had to act up, we had our struggle, I got her to FINALLY push through and do what I asked for 2 laps with a few circles and finally stopped on a somewhat positive note.
Then...after ALL of that, she was being sassy on the wall, and I do not know how she managed it, but got her lead over her head and freaked out! So I got her untied and settled her, tied her to the exact spot, finished grooming her, and took her back to pasture, but I feel that what was accomplished was ruined.
I am so frustrated, I know miracles do not happen over night, but to have such a breakthrough be thrown away is so frustrating.
Is this normal to have a power struggle like this? When she's good, she's really good, she's excellent with children, she's beautiful, and will be great to show...but she hates listening to me! I am very familiar with animals and cues and behaviors, and not letting them win, but there's a huge difference between having a dog on a collar and leash and sitting on top of a pissed off mare! I do not know if I'm venting or asking for advice, but it feels good to get this off of my chest!