First of all, I am very bad at keeping up at taking pictures of Riva. I tried to find a pic from December of 2010, and September was the closest I came.
December of 2010 - I had Riva at my previous trainer's barn from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov. of 2010. So in December, we were trying to maintain the progress gained while away at training. I was finally able to lunge Riva on my own, and she was responding to body language and softer voice cues. Riding,,,,still issues.
December of 2011 - When I look back one year, I can see all the advances we (mostly I) have made.
* Riva is a pro at lunging now. I can lunge her in our indoor alone, or with another horse lunging and another being ridden. I have control of her and she respects and responds very well on the lunge.
* Ground manners are much improved. Her pushyness is almost 100% gone - but she will try it with a handler that isn't used to her.
* Riding gets better every ride and I could not be happier with this. I am once again having fun on my horse. I know my husband is happier, since I don't break done in tears every other ride! My confidence in my ability has increased 200% or more over the past year. I can now encourage Riva with a dressage whip - I no longer ride in spurs - and she is responding. The very few times she balks, I can handle it and get Riva moving out with energy.
I have several people to thank for the progress this past year:
* First of all, my lovely, talented ,soon to be 18 year old daughter! When Riva got dangerous early this summer - ie, rearing, bucking, twisting - all at the same time bit - Alexis got on and worked Riva thru the issue. Every time Alexis gets on Riva now, which is rare, with her being a working student, I see how a good rider can get Riva looking like a dressage prospects.
* My new trainer - for putting me on a schoolmaster dressage mare, a gaited horse, and a very opinionated draft cross, and teaching me how to ride all over again. I was doing so many things wrong, and she patiently helped me thru each and every one. I have learned so much from her in the short time I have switched to taking lessons with her.
* My husband - who has talked me thru being on the verge of giving up on ever being able to ride Riva, many times. Who has reminded me countless times that I am green, Riva is green, and we will get better. He is the the one who tells me to look back at our progress and remember how far we have come.
I can't wait to see what 2012 brings...and there will be pictures!