Ok, wow, it's been a looooooooooong time since I opened this diary ... and never updated it :( (shame on me). I don't really know why either...
So here we go, I'll just start where I left off:
Lucky went to that trainer in August 2009. She should have stayed there for 2 months and first everything was fine. The trainer started lunging her and she did really well. But after 2 weeks when she started riding her the problems started. My formerly so nice and well-behaving girl would start to bolt, buck and rear under the trainer!!
Well, one reason for this may have been that the saddle didn't fit quite correctly (which we found out when having her checked by a saddler after she started misbehaving). But another reason sure was that those two simply didn't get along. This trainer, as good as she is (trained my fiancees mare and they got along well enough with each other), is a pretty "stubborn" person. Everything has to work the way she wants it, without room for any compromise. But Lucky simply isn't that kind of horse. She doesn't just "work". She's a horse you need to discuss things with sometimes until you find a way in the middle, that's ok for both of you. From there you can start working towards your goal ;) ... But the trainer wouldn't see that and keep on pushing her even after she showed clearly that the things she demanded were NOT ok for her at the moment (no matter what the reason... be it the saddle (and I really think, that's the main reason she started to disobey) or be it simply that she didn't want to do something).
Well, long story short. We quit the training after 1 month (2 weeks lungeing and 2 weeks riding ... more or less).
Back home I had a horse that had really improved in lunging (at least something positive to take out of this) but that, if anything, dis-improved in riding.
Of course we got a new saddle after this episode (finding the perfect one, was a little odyssey itself *sigh*) and started training at home again.
I also found a chiropractor to look her over after that and who gave us riding lessons from time to time (not very often as she's from Germany and only coming to Austria a couple times a year).
Well, the past 4 years it's been ups and downs. Sometimes we would improve, sometimes we would go back a pace or two. Especially cantering is a problem for us ... or at least for me ... right now.
There was an incident about a year ago, when we had one of our rare lessons with the german trainer/chiropractor. All went well until she asked us to canter. Lucky just didn't want to. First she started running at a trot. Here I would usually make her walk and calm down before trying again, but the trainer insisted she cantered. Now. ... NOT a good idea, and I know I should have known better but at that moment I didn't think about it and kept on trying to get her to canter. ... Well, what shall I say? She bucked me off (I've never been good on staying on a bucking horse, anyway) and I fell on my back so that I had the wind knocked out of me. I needed a couple minutes to recover during which my fiancee got a hold of Lucky and rode her a couple rounds. ... I got on myself again after I had my breath back, just to make sure she wouldn't learn that she could end work like that by herself.
Well, she hasn't bucked a single time under me ever since ... but I haven't dared to try a canter again either. I somehow can't get myself to do it even though every time I get off her I wish I had tried and even when riding her I'm thinking about it... and always find excuses NOT to do it ... I know they're just excuses and that I should trust her and myself and just get over it and do it. But somehow I can't.
Well so much for riding... that's where we're at right now.
As for ground work:
right after she got back from the training stable she was the best horse ever to lunge! She would react to voice commands alone. No whip needed. Not even as "decoration" in my hand or on the ground. But sometime in winter she would start pulling outside on the lunge and sometimes bolt.
We worked with the german trainer on that as well, even got a Cavecon (which she recommended) for lunging and every time the trainer was here the pulling out seemed to improve and she wouldn't bolt. But it wouldn't last long. ... As soon as I tried to lunge her alone she would fall back into her old behavior and start pulling out again.
As for the bolting, I guess at some point she must have realized that I simply wasn't strong enough to hold her if she really put all her weight and strength into it, so every time she felt like running free she just took off.
I had a friend lunging her for some time then and she tried it with him, too, but soon had to realize that HE would hold her. So when she behaved lunging with him, I would try right afterwards and most times she would behave with me, too.
But she still pulled to the outside, no matter who lunged her.
So, of course I was totally (positively) surprised, when, for the first time in a long time, I lunged her myself from the beginning a couple weeks ago and she would neither pull on the lunge nor bolt (not even a hint of either!)!
I only worked her for 15 minutes or so, but I was soooo happy with my girl!! :)
Maybe I should take this as a sign to start cantering again, too?
As for her overall behavior or character. Well of course she has changed a bit there too in the past 4 years.
She's still the nice, curious, funny, playful horse I got 5 years ago, but she also got more ... how to put it? ... cautious? I guess she picked that behavior up from my fiancee's mare, who would spook at any- and everything if she felt like it (not that she's really afraid of things, but sometimes she just likes to find an excuse to be spooked, jump around, etc). Well Lucky still doesn't get spooked as easily as the other mare but if you compare what she ignored or investigated curiously at age 4 and what she eyes with suspicion now ... well ... she used to be a lot "cooler" a couple years ago!
Ok, that's it for now. 4 years put in a not so short post on a forum ;)