When I decided to get a young horse, my trainer told me that bringing her along would be a fun adventure for me. His assistant, who would be working with me all winter while half the barn headed to Florida, told me that I would want to bang my head against the wall a lot. As usual, they were both right.
This winter has been all about small victories. We could trot a circle without losing her hind end through the turn—yes! We could canter multiple times around the whole ring and not feel like we were going to die—hooray! We could canter over a pole nicely and not leap over it like a liver pool—woohoo! I never realized how much I took simple things for granted with my previous horses or how exciting it would be when I accomplished them with Sasha.
Of course, a winter of small victories was also a winter of setbacks. There was the time that we had a fantastic lesson one night, and then the very next day I had such a hard time with her that my trainer got on halfway through the lesson. There was the time she unexpectedly had to have a week off from work, sending our lovely, balanced canter back to the one where we careened around at high speeds and fell apart in the corners. Then there was the week I got her to do two lead changes on my own one day, and then couldn’t get her to do any when I went to show them off a couple of days a later. As I’m reminded all the time: one step forward, two steps back.
Even with the setbacks that were sprinkled in, I’m proud of our hard work and what we’ve accomplished this winter. Bringing Sasha along has been both fun and exasperating so far, and I’m looking forward to our continued progress together.