Some lessons are good, I get the horse to walk and trot nice and collected, round, bouncy, then at other times the horse senses I am not really there, not 100% present. That's when she does her own thing- or things: cuts across the arena, lifts her head up in the sky, evades the bit, speeds up in trot and canter, leaves the arena, jogs, moves sideways, pulls the reins and they slide between my fingers. When I take her out of the arena and ride in the great outdoors, she goes well as long as we are not heading home. Once home (=food) is in sight, she changes gears and attempts to run. I end up asking her to turn into a circle, again and again, until she stops jogging on the spot. It usually works, but these days I tend to ask one of my more skilled rider friends to take her out and I ride another friend's horse. Defeat? I don't think so.
It's just not worth having a battle, which we both don't enjoy. My friend's horse in the other hand is perfect for anything.
I still love my little horse, and when I am riding her in a lesson, things usually go well and I can make an effort to correct what I am doing wrong. It's me, of course, doing things wrong, pulling the wrong rein, leaving reins loose, doing somethings else that I should not be doing.
Lunge lessons come in handy. Back to basics. Back to lessons. As long as I show up and ride, I will get there. During Christmas break I rode almost every day, mostly on the Western saddle and did really well. Days like those built my confidence and made me feel a lot better about myself and my riding skills. I also learned that I should not ride when I am tired, absent-minded or otherwise in another world.
Trust and balance building exercises coming up next. It's never too late even after 20+ years of riding to start from the scratch.