Thank you for these amazing and thoughtful questions!
I might be back later today if I can, but otherwise I'll see you in the morning (pacific standard morning) for more.
I have my biggest horse show of the year in three weeks and I'm working almost round-the-clock right now to prepare both myself and my horses. I am also going to attempt to qualify for the U.S. team in the world championships for Icelandic horses. It's not likely I'll make the team this time (happens every two years), but I have been steadily coming closer and it's certainly *possible* this time. And I will say that people across the world (the Icelandic horse world) have been watching me with my horse(s) making progress and thinking it's nothing short of a miracle given how bad we BOTH were ;) But I just keep saying, "Science. That stuff works." Because it totally does. Not that there isn't a lot of art/creativity in figuring out how to apply it, but... I have been approaching my own skills and that of my horses from the POV of "we're doing experiments". Some of them nearly cost me my relationship with both my mentors, but they always come around when they see that sometimes the most unconventional approach can lead to a deep, real result ;)
I think I'm going to just start riding with a lab coat on.