NEED advice: training a young uneducated horse? *long description
Basically my mare and I were doing so well. She's ayoungin', and she is such a hardworking mare. We were working on the basics of dressage, and she was getting fairly consistent at rounding, lifting, getting on the bit... she was learning, and was doing really well. But then things went downhill really fast when random lameness started to happen, vet bills galore, diagnostic testing... and then we found out she has osteoarthritis at such a young age. So we did routine handwalking, switched to a special low starch diet which has helped her lose and maintain weight, and she is doing very well. Last week we were able to put her back under saddle after a period of long rest from riding.
So, I've been through the whole "green horse training stage" before, although I'm not sure you would use the term "green" because she definitely is familiar with the saddle/bit, just not comfortable and educated with necessary aids yet. I'm not a particularly experienced rider. I've been riding since I was younger, and I've taken lessons with several different professionals within the past couple of years, but I'm not very experienced where I am knowledgable enough to handle a young horse by myself. I'm very blessed to have a trainer who is always so helpful. He's also my BM so I know him really well, but I've only taken one formal lesson (in addition to all of the mini lessons we've had).
When he rides my horse, she looks fantastic. She is resistant to him but he can control it, and when she has her frustrated exuberances, he quickly stops them. I, on the other hand, have a ton of trouble. I might just be being very hard on myself because 1) I might be selling my skills short 2) it was our, what, fourth ride since she's been off for several months and 3) she still has to develop that work ethic. This mare is fantastic, she is so willing and hardworking... it isn't her fault that no one had trained her well prior to our purchase. I have no doubt that she will be fantastic once she is well trained. The problem is, how do I get there? I feel bad because me being slightly inexperienced, I am prone to frustration. Plus, my trainer is re-teaching me techniques that I was previously taught incorrectly or in a different manner, so he has to start with me from the bottom up, as I'm training my horse and as he is working with her as well. So, it's completely confusing. I'm willing to work hard, but the problem is, I don't know where the line is where I can work as hard as I possibly can and just not get a result. I could work my hardest and try my best but I don't know when I'll be able to achieve a result. Lunging is a dream for us. I mean, she is so fantastic on the lunge, we have been using side reins and wow they have made such a difference! Once she builds up strength she will be much more comfortable! But riding is very difficult. I know she is trying so hard, I know she means well, I know she just has these little habits because she doesn't know any better. She is amazing, I'm not mad at her, I'm just frustrated that I can't do anything about it sometimes. Or maybe I can but I get caught in these little divits and I don't know where to go from there.
I don't want to be ungrateful especially when I haven't been able to ride in months. And I want to be patient with her, especially since she is so patient with me. Little things I have trouble with are... simple. Keeping her going, leg aids, keeping her away from the wall. I try to use my outside leg/outside rein to "bump" her away from the wall but I must not be doing it right because there is really not a result.
Clarifying. I am not interested in selling my mare, or moving up to another horse. I just need a solution for our benefit... mostly her well-being. So what do you think? Thank you. God bless you, and kudos to you if you read all of that.