"To an optimist, taking a step backwards after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's more like a Cha-Cha."
Seems like a great way to describe our progress, two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes two steps back.
We went off the farm to a new location, one with fancy jumps, like in a show ring, without all the hoopla. I was so proud, because, this time, Oakley went over every jump, with only a bit of hesitation and almost as if he were beginning to enjoy it. Even though we were basically doing trot poles, poles barely above the ground between the wing-stands, it is easy to contrast this outing with our very first one, back in 2011, when he basically ran away from everything, even poles laying on the ground, in a barely controllable panic.
This is, of course, a step forward from the previous day, when he got all upset because there was an x-rail he didn't like. Maybe he couldn't see it properly. I'll give him some doubt, but he still was leaping over boldly, the fifth of sixth time we jumped it, so I do have to wonder.
Which was a step backwards from the day before when he jumped over the fences -- even the hanging board -- without even slowing down or more than a slight adjustment for distance. Almost as if he was having fun. Almost.
That was, of course, a step forward from the previous time when he didn't want to go over the log lying in the grass.... that was a step backward from the previous day when he'd gone over that very log without hesitation the first time. &c. &c.
I knew, when I first got him, that, my immediate fantasies of the World Equestrian Games notwithstanding, it should take at least 5 years of work to get any result, and so it has, improving with agonizing slowness, one cha-cha step at a time.
But still, always improving.