I have some exciting news and I just thought I'd share:
I had great success today with a mare I've been working with over the past few months. She's a 6-going-on-7 QH who was relatively untouched and is owned by a family who has little experience with horses. When I first started working with her in the fall, she had little respect for humans, had no ground manners (she barely knew how to lead properly), and had injured several members of the family at one point or another. She was basically a pushy foal (in the body of a full grown horse, mind you) who knew her handlers were afraid of her and used that to her advantage. I've spent the last 3 and a half months teaching her all the things a baby should know, and now we're starting to get to the point where is skills are a bit more appropriate for her age.
Today was A's first ride, and it was everything I've hoped it would be! She was completely unfazed, and expect for her turning to look at me with a "What're you doing up there, human?" sort of curiosity, things couldn't have gone better. I'm really glad I put so much time into groundwork, even though her owners were wondering what the heck I was doing out there with her and why it was "taking so long" to get her trained. I was determined to make sure it was a non-event for her, and she took it in stride. I only got on for about 10 minutes, but after she got used to me not being next to her, she walked around like I'd always been up there. I'm especially excited because she's the first horse I've started entirely on my own (I've broke 3 year olds before, but with someone experienced), and, well I just feel proud!
I have another day off tomorrow so maybe we'll try another little ride and see how it goes!
All praise the power of thorough groundwork training! Yay!