So I have talked about how Pongo is now being ridden by another girl at the barn too. I have come to the conclusion that I don't share well. While she is an excellent rider for her age (12), she doesn't have the experience or understanding to keep him where he needs to be right now. I have gotten spoiled having him all to myself because it is so much easier to make progress when I am the only one riding him.
Before our conversations were more of me saying do this and he typically would say ok. Occasionally, he would give me some sass, but in general he was working really well. I could get on him and he would start with some swing in his back. He would always be a bit braced to the left, but it would take a couple reminders and he would give. Then we could start getting him to lift and really push off from behind. Depending on his softness I would start bringing his shoulders back into line.
Now, I get on him and his back feels like a board. So, I say, "let's walk off and put some swing into the walk." Pongo, "Ummm no I don't do that." Me, "Ummm YES you do." Pongo, "Ummmm not so much..." Me, "Get it together dude. You can walk forward and put some swing in your back." Pongo, "Fine if you insist." The last is accompanied with an eye roll I am pretty sure. This type of conversation takes up the majority of the ride. By the time I get him back to snappy responses and soft, I am exhausted so I push a little bit further and typically end the ride. I find it very frustrating because I really want to move forward with him and I haven't been able to the last few rides.
On the bright side, I have a jump lesson on him tomorrow. Hopefully the pain in my legs from today pays off tomorrow and we have a good lesson. I am a little nervous, because we haven't jumped since the Sinead clinic. I also am riding Stinker before my lesson, so I might be a little tired. He has been a handful the last couple of rides.
This is slightly disjointed, but after my ride on Pongo, I messaged D and basically said I am sorry I messed up the horse (Stinker) you brought to me and that it is now nine months later and we are just getting back to where he was when you brought him to me. D being the amazing person that she is basically told me to get my head out of my ass and I should never feel like I messed him up in the first place (in a much nicer way). She kindly reminded me that he did spend 3 months off for EPM and while we should have gone through this stage earlier that prevented it.
Then because she is the smart amazing trainer that she is, she knew I was getting in my head and over thinking things and followed it up with reminded me that all horses have regressive stages. Every single horse, and it is very frustrating, but you just go back to square one and build things back up. Then one day, they go "oh yeah, I remember that" and you have another jump forward.