Ruby and I spent over an hour a day six days a week with the four-day separation for an art show I entered and a couple of rainy day vacations. Her owners were happy and said she was a different horse. The changes are so gradual that I can’t see them. I have to go back and consider my first impressions to get a grip on the what she learned and how much she was advanced in her training. She really was much better trained when she left.
Ruby was a quick learner. She learned all the physical movements that I taught her quite well. I know she calmed down a lot, but there was always a little fear showing itself, especially toward the end of the rides. I didn’t get rid of the stress completely. The closest I got to it was on the canter/trot seven or eight-mile rides. I could not feel the fear by the end of those rides. But could I just keep up those heavy hard rides until her fear disappeared? I didn’t think her owners would have the time or the inclination to keep on with those heavy workouts and even heavier as she got in better shape. I didn’t want to make her jiggy. Finally, I was never confident that the workout recipe would work for obliterating her fear, and especially within the short time I had. In the end on the last several rides, we only walked.
Another possibility is that once she gets home and with her old roommate and they go riding together she may lose her fear just being close to him.