In pony news (let's face it that is all people care about) I haven't ridden Pongo since the clinic because he pulled his shoe. But yesterday the girl rode him for a dressage lesson and she said he was really good. Her standards are lower than mine, but that still made me happy. He hasn't been ridden in 1.5 weeks so at least he is consistent enough that he wasn't an asshole.
In Stinker news, I have been so proud of him. We have started cantering again and it is a mess. He locks his neck and legs go everywhere. S and I agree it is a strength thing, so lots of hills to really build up that bum. He likes to flip his leads on me (especially going left), sometimes it is both, just the hind, or just the front. He also likes to canter in the front and trot behind. So my main goal is to canter a few strides and bring him back before things get messy. Unfortunately this requires me to be very very organized, which I am not.
I have been very proud of him, because he has been keeping his marbles together. We have not had a total meltdown where I haven't been able to get him back in awhile. Sure we have moments where he loses it and goes to Stinker land, but he will now come back to me.
In addition to that I have been wanting to get S back to riding him, because I want her to be the one that starts jumping him. I don't trust myself not to accidentally create a problem since I am so green and he is easily frazzled. Rather than throw her to the wolves, I am having her ride him for one of my lessons. This way I get to see him under saddle (yay!) and I can also help her through sticky spots. With one ride down I was so proud of him. He has had anyone else on him since D hopped on him several months ago. But while he was a little anxious, he went to work for her. Their sticky spots are in the same places I have trouble. Yay it isn't my riding. But I got him through it.
Some people may be wondering why I am working with a trainer that I need to show how to ride my horse, considering that I am paying them. For me it is a no brainer. One S is a lovely patient light rider. Stinker does not respond well to force, it causes him to shut down. So I am very careful who I let on him. So far it has been D, S, and M (gives beginner lessons at the barn part time). They are all very patient and kind riders.
Technically I let one of the teenage boys on him, but that was just to scare the boy. He thought he wanted to ride Stinker and I thought it would be a good demo of why you don't want to get on just any horse. I made him get a helmet and got him on. I led them in a 20 m circle and that was enough for the kid. Sticker was a ball of tension and was prancing/scooting the entire time. But now the kid has full respect for Stinker and doesn't want to get on him again. I never turned him loose and Stinker has excellent ground manners, so I wasn't worried that the kid would fall off. He would just get to feel what a ball of tension feels like.
Anyway back to the actual point, S is fully capable of riding Stinker and riding him well. She just hasn't ever been around a horse that is like him. I'm totally ok with giving her the tools to ride a horse like him, so then in the future maybe she can help other horses. It would be very easy to create a monster that would get passed around and eventually end up in a kill pen. So why not let Stinker be a bit of a guinea pig if it could help other horses be productive? I am not worried about her creating problems. It is just about showing her the tools that D has given me.
Finally, I trust S completely. I know she won't get frustrated and do something drastic. Plus when I travel for work I want someone to be able to ride him. He does the best with constancy and I feel that I should do my best to provide him with situations that he will thrive in.
So a long rambling post later, Stinker has been doing well and I am super proud of him. Hopefully we can continue to make progress. I have a new goal for us. I want to be solid at walk trot canter and have leg yields for the end of December. We have a four day dressage boot camp and I really want to be able to start working on first level stuff. I think it is doable but it will require some hard work and maybe a bit of luck. The walk will just take time which I am ok with. There is no reason for us to rush. The canter will take strength and that also takes time. Also I really need to get him working more over his top. We are getting better but he is still inverted 95% of the time. I need those percentages to switch.