Progress and change can take a long time. But if you feel like time is endlessly marching onward and you aren’t noticing progress, there can be a few things happening:
1- the progress is small, and you might not be noticing it.
It’s good to have an instructor or someone point out the progress you and your horse are making so you don’t get lost, and to keep you on the right path.
2- you may not be making progress if you continually practice small things incorrectly. Sometimes things can change very quickly when you block options you don’t want the horse to take, and have the timing to lead the horse toward better options. Sometimes the same habits continue over time because the horse and rider are practicing the wrong habits too often.
3- you aren’t getting to the root of the problem or you haven’t provided the necessary tools for progress. One easy and frequent example of this is trailer loading- some folks take quite a bit of time to load a horse on a trailer patiently. Their intentions are very good, and their patience is admirable. But it may be the job would be a lot quicker if the horse were better prepared, understood the fundamental things that go into trailer loading better, had more frequent practice, or wasn’t accidentally rewarded for escaping or blowing through pressure barriers repeatedly.
Having a trustworthy outside eye can really help. I know with my own riding and horse’s progress at times I have hit roadblocks for these same reasons. Slow is fast, but sometimes, progress can be much faster with the right pieces working together. Get a good teacher, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and if you find yourself stuck in a rut- take a deep breath and know you can get through it. It happens to the best of us!