Leigh,Its curious how different horses get things more and less quickly in different places.
Oh, truly, Jo! It's one of the things that I'm loving about having two horses to play with -- Circe got the mimicry thing immediately with the leg lifts, and is beginning to translate it quite enthusiastically to other things. Stardust got it eventually, and I actually think is more aware of what I'm doing with my body than Circe is, but he's slower to mimic me than she is.
He has more awareness, but is often carefully watching. Circe has all of the enthusiasm in the world, but often is singing songs in her head and forgets that anyone else is around!
It may simply be that you guys yet haven't found the magic pieces!
I hadn't really thought about focusing on one leg for the walk -- so it really is more the polka (LIFT STEP, step, LIFT STEP, step) -- I think that's another way that might work, too...I'm gonna play with that!
But she is certainly trying very hard and I am trying very hard not to leave her too confused and frustrated because it really is my ineptitude not hers!!!!!!
Oh, I so understand feeling like you're the one who's inept!
One of my tactics to avoid feeling like a bumbler and avoid pony frustration is that I've decided pretty much everything (at the moment at least) is an experiment and there are no wrong answers...
This has helped me with my Type A Dictator moments when I can get all framboozled about getting it RIGHT! and just figure that if they offer something different than what I asked for, we've just shifted games a bit. I try to keep this reasonably balanced so I'm not also confusing them by shifting gears every twelve seconds, and we're probably going to go for more specificity/clarity as we go, but it's been really good for all of us to remove frustration from the equation...
(This may or may not be helpful for you, because I don't get the sense that you're fighting with your inner dictator very much, Jo!
But I thought I'd mention it...for both of them at this moment, the most important part is that they have fun. I'm really not particularly goal oriented with them otherwise right now...again, this is a stage, I think..but it seems to be taking away a lot of all of our fear of getting it wrong, whatever "it' is...and it's letting me get more fluent in horse without inadvertently yelling at them because I said, "The dog is on top of the house" when I think I've said "would you lift your right leg please" -- I am a Peter Sellers movie...
"Ours is the portal of hope. Come as you are." -- Rumi www.imaginalinstitute.com