One of my beginners, she is 10 & has a pair of Haffie's that were driven as a team and the older mare was plow-rein farm broke.
In less than 1 year with a 10 yr old rider she has learned to neck rein, back, pick up the correct leads and collect herself. I've not gotten on her back once.
The last 2 weeks we have been drilling showmanship pretty hard. The pony had NO turn, she was hard pressed to move out of your space. She had been a pet for the majority of her life before her current owners. So homework was to work on moving her shoulder and turning. Today I gave her a big challenge pattern with 2 - 90's & a 360. She NAILED it!
She has also started riding hunt seat just this last month, today worked an Eq pattern, got every diagonal, hit her switches in the middle and a flying lead change. Plus 5 laps around my outdoor (150 x 300) in 2 pt and didn't have to put her hands on her neck. My old out of shape behind would be hard pressed to do that these days!
I am beyond floored at the grit and determination of this little rider. I think that next year I may offer to lease her one of my personal horses she is doing so well and will soon be much more of a rider than her pony is capable of doing justice.