I've been riding her every day for about two and a half weeks and I feel like we're just beginning to get a tiny bit more of a 'click'.
It's nothing magical or impressive to watch but I'm working hard to be dependable and calm and to offer straight forward guidance and she is showing real generosity in response.
She's still full of anxiety when we're schooling but over the past couple of nights that's decreased as we've gone on through transitions, serpentines and changing the rein. Instead of bossing her around these little tasks my job is to keep breathing, stay soft and offer her a chance to soften and stop worrying.
It really takes so much concentration that it's not until later when I'm driving home that I start to register how well she's done and how, in the past, certain things would have caused a problem. During these sessions there's been sprinklers, giant plastic bags, horse boxes too-ing and fro-ing and all kinds going on and she's handled it all in a much more grown up way.
There's one side of the school where she's really wary and she normally braces and tries to step off the track. I'm ignoring this and just focussing on moving ahead into the next transitition and yesterday there was a moment where she just forgot it was a problem and stayed on the track for the length of the school, quite happily.
In the sunshine yesterday we finished with some long canters in the field to build up her tummy muscles, and for fun too! She felt both bonkers and wildly overconfident and excited. It felt really nice to feel that enthusiasm.
The change seems to be melting into the rest of the time I spend with her. She stands still while I brush her and get her ready and at times she's leading much more fluently. I'm going to keep taking this approach with her and let things come together in their own time rather than stressing about 'progress'.
For years now I've been trying to find a magic method of changing Cady but with great humility (and not a little embarrassment) I have to admit I should have been working on myself instead, educating myself and challenging myself to be better. It's not enough to read things and think you know everything - you have to be able to put it into practice and that's an ongoing job.
For these positive changes I am extremely grateful to Cady.
But I'm also very thankful to this blog A year with horses which is truly excellent.
It is extremely well thought-out and written and I cannot recommend it enough. Ditto, the Mark Rashid book I've been banging on about!
Happy horsing everyone! Hope this hasn't been tooo serious! x