But lately, I'm starting to realize that Victoria might be right. After Melissa's ride the other day, it made me think.
Amber has advanced tenfold from when I bought her. Not only have I been her primary rider, but we have worked towards perfecting a lot of things, and maybe I just haven't realized what a "precision necessary" ride I've made her. Melissa and Victoria are both good riders, albeit at different levels of experience, neither are beginners. Amber does the same with both...braces with the undermuscle on her neck, sticks her nose in the air, and trots as fast as she can, occasionally breaking into a canter.
She did this with Katie as well (although Katie made her collect, it was head down, fling it up, head down, fling it up). She sticks her head up higher than any horse I've ever seen when she doesn't like how you're riding. Lately, with me, I've been getting her to go beautifully, the long and low, nose-dragging (not literally) hunter under saddle type. She does this on a loose rein, and eventually stretches down to find my contact on her own. It's not traditional softening, but it's perfect for a hunter class, and if she goes so happily like that, not avoiding the bit, I'm not compelled to collect her any more. But even on a loose rein with Melissa, she did the brace-and-run thing. At first, I thought she was like that for Victoria because Victoria rode her in full contact. So I had instructed Melissa not to immediately take up contact, and just give her someone to stretch into - which she did. It wasn't anything I saw that Melissa was necessarily doing wrong.
I can't understand why she won't do it for everyone else, unless she really is a one-person horse. Victoria also said she thinks Amber is the hardest horse in the barn to ride...I wouldn't go that far, because I'm not THAT good of a rider, and couldn't ever pretend to be.
I also figured out why Amber sometimes doesn't like to be caught. I notice if I spent more time speaking "baby-talk" to her - hugging, snuggling, and generally making a fuss over her...she enjoys being caught. If I have a week where I get in a hurry, and take her out, do what I need to, and put her away...well, refusal to be caught. High maintenance, much?
In other news, I made a 100 on my first "real" exam for my Vet Tech course. :) I had a math and reading accessment before that, and like, 2 or 3 exams on how to study and the legal aspects of being a vet tech as well as general info about a vet office, my relationship with the clients, ect. Made 88, 100, 93 and 95.
Still intend to work in a small animal clinic, but I'm not totally shutting out the idea of working for an equine vet. Either way, I'll have a lot of options for a career as a licensed veterinary technician - super excited! :)