I didn't realize until I really started working with Katai just how impossible Sora was to train. I was starting to feel like a completely incompetent horse trainer and I'm not. I'm hardly an expert but I did train three ponies that all went on to young kids and two horses, one of which ended up with a couple of beginning trail riders. I've also retrained horses and brought them to higher levels.
I would never suggest that I know everything, or even most things, about horse training but I would say I'm pretty competent at getting them started well and safe with no bad manners and with the skills to go onto a performance career if desired but Sora was starting to make me think otherwise.
I don't know if there was actually something wrong with her mentally or if it was her background but now that I have another horse to compare her to I'm beginning to realize that there was definitely something wrong. She simply couldn't retain things and couldn't generalize at all. I could teach her something simple in one place, after tons of repetitions, but take her someplace else even if it were familiar and she felt safe and she would completely loose the lesson that she previously had down. It was insanely frustrating and I was blaming it all on myself.
Now I feel like I can at least share the blame.
Yesterday, in about half an hour, Katai learned more about ground driving and quicker than Sora ever did because she had retained and can generalize information. I had taught her all the necessary steps and she put them together just the way she should, with some help from me of course :) It certainly wasn't elegant but she worked with me, tried her hardest, thought about what I was asking and learned from the experience which is all I could ask.
There is a dressage trainer, that I would really like to take lessons with, who has just about given up on me because of Sora. She teaches at the place that I was boarding at and tried to give me advice, which I happily took and tried so hard to accomplish but never could. She showed me a bunch of desensitizing techniques that I did a TON of with Sora and while she would eventually calm down about that stimulus in one environment as soon as I would change it even a little I would be back to square one. She would see Sora freak out and I'm sure she thought that I wasn't even attempting to try her suggestions.
The whole thing was sickening to me especially since I've been a student since I was 5 years old. I've taken weekly lessons for music, and sometimes bi-weekly lessons, for the past 20ish years. If there is anything I DO know its how to take what a teacher is saying and put it into practice and this was making her think I didn't want to or couldn't.
This trainer knows that I have Katai and knows that she is untrained. I'm sure she is thinking this will be a train wreck especially since she didn't see what wonderful citizens the other horses I trained where once I was done with them.
I'm competitive and stubborn. Katai and I are going to wow her and change her mind if its the last thing I do
Talk about motivation ;)