Well, I'll start with her story right from the beginning and then post updates on how/what we're doing every now and then.
So, here you go:
Lucky was born in March 2004 (we don't know the exact date so I decided to use March 28th as her birthdate in memory of my grandfather). She had to spend the first 2 years of her life in a tiny box that hardly ever got cleaned out and without hardly any contact to other horses.
That's when her former (let's call her C.) owner found her. They soon found a price that was suitable and the lady who sold her told C that she can also register Lucky and send the documents to C as soon as she got them. She even gave C her phone number, so she could call her.
Well, as no documents arrived after some time, C tried to call the lady but the phone number turned out to be fake and the lady just vanished.
So, it could be that Lucky is registered as Quater-Arab cross somewhere, but we have not really got a chance to find out. ...
At the age of 3, C started to train Lucky with the help of a western trainer which was not really worth the money. So soon she decided to go on training Lucky herself. She mostly lunged her and used her for trail riding, as they do not really have the facilities and place to do much else.
When I was looking for a horse, I actually was looking for a little advanced dressage horse from which I could learn (and also important: it should not be too tall - 14hh was a good size, I thought). Well, what I found was a more or less green broke 4 year old mare, 15hh (now 15,3hh) which only knew the rider on her back and how to walk/trot/canter on a straight path. Nothing else. I've never regret this decision a second.
When I first saw a picture of her, I knew this would be the right horse for me and it turned out to be true. When I first rode her, it felt like "home". Just like I always belonged there (never had this feeling before when ridin a new horse).
I also was really surprised by her character: she was really calm, but forward going and could run really fast if you asked her to do so but would calm down again in an instant. She is curious like no other horse I've ever met and never spooks on anything. As I found out later, she also really loves to learn new things and always wants to give the best for her rider.
On June 11th 2008, I finally took Lucky home.
I gave her some days to adjust to the new home and herd and then started lunging her to build up her muscels and to improve her fitness.
After about a month I started to lunge her a bit and then ride her a bit, to get her slowly used to the "work" we were about to do, slowly progessing to riding only.
We worked a lot on walking and trotting for quite some time before I first tried to canter her in the arena. Remember: she only knew how to walk, tort and esp. Canter on a straight path!
As she was used to voice commands only for cantering, I tried the voice command first. Which only got her running fast at a trot. So, I tried to use the normal cues instead and with this and a light touch of the whip I got her to canter. And was immediately surprised by her taking off at full speed as soon as we reached the long side of the arena.
Even though she never had a problem cantering on the lunge line or on our trail rides every now and then, she obviously had not yet enough balance to canter with a rider in the arena (where there are corners that we have to canter through and me wanting to ride circles and all those things instead of a long straight path). So we went back to lunge work as far as cantering is concerned.
Just before winter forced us to pause (we only have an outside arena), we managed to canter on the left lead at a calm and steady pace :) ... right lead was still a problem.
During winter we only went trail riding every now and then when the weather would let us. As there are hardly any stones around in our area we tried to let her walk without shoes as she's got quite a good hoof material (she was shoed at the front legs when I got here, 'cause she was quite sensitive when going on gravel paths and there was nothing else where she came from), but that was not a good idea. Even on the few stones out there she reacted quite sensitive, started to trip and bucked a friend off twice (she never did that with me though, so I'm not 100% sure it was just the missing shoes). We had our farrier and vet check her out, but there were no medical problems and at home she was just fine without shoes, as there are no stones at all.
So in spring she got shoes on her front legs again - and is our nice little girl again :)
That's when we started our training again with some lunge work and after some weeks started on the riding work again.
Until now we can walk and trot relaxed at a good pace and nicely forward downward (don't really know what it's called in english...) having her head at a level position. She canters nicely on the left lead, here we're working on her endurance, as she'll only canter about 2 circles and then fall back to trot again but she's steadily improving.
About 2 weeks ago we managed for the first time to canter on the right lead in a calm and steady pace ... no more running :) But cantering on this lead is still something we have to work on hard as it's not her favorite lead.
Well, that's our story so far. Btw, we managed all this without the help of a trainer, and I'm convinced we could go on like this for some more time ourselves. But I think that training with a professional trainer will even take her much further, Lucky will go to a barn nearby in aug/sep where she gets trained by a really good trainer and afterwards I'll be taking some lessons with her so that I know what she knows :)
Ok, sorry for writing a novel, but it's a long story :)
Feel free to comment on anything you like!