Baby Stinker was always a hot sweaty mess.
That isn't exactly a great start to building trust with a horse that requires a lot of trust. Needless to say when I started bringing him back from the EPM there was a lot of panicking on both of our parts. I didn't know what to do with him. He would be fine on the ground and would always lunge perfectly, but as soon as I got on there was a lot of flailing. I would tense and he would flail more. It was a very vicious cycle.
Baby Stinker used to act like this when I put my legs on
Needless to say, with a lot of time, patience, and excellent instruction I have been able to break the cycle. I still have days where I buy into his BS, but the frequency has decreased drastically. The tricky part now is letting go of the past and riding the horse I have now. When I get on I need to have the expectation that I can ride with my leg on and I can expect him to soften into the bridle.
This is the horse I have now
He has done an excellent job of training me to remove my leg and to ride without contact. On the plus side he is very in tune with my seat; the other side of that is he gets totally lost without my seat. Regardless, I need to forget the horse that he was and start riding the horse I have now.
This is a lot easier said than done. My first instinct when he gets fussy is to remove my legs and let the reins get long. This used to work when he would get fussy out of nervousness. Now, he is steadier if I support him more. Before he needed the freedom to know that he wasn't trapped, now he needs the steadiness to support and guide him.
One I can ride with a halter
In light of this, I am making this year the year of letting go and riding the horse I have. The one I used to have no longer exists. The horse I have is one that I can get on and know that I can use my leg and have steady contact (if I remember to ride him as such).