Friday, May 27, 2016

April Video Lessons

Video 1:  04.06.16

My Thoughts:
I rushed things a bit, so it isn't very good.  He was pretty tense and braced.  He did feel straighter, so that is a plus.  My geometry was terrible, because the letters were half set for the small ring and I kept getting confused as to what letter was where (basically I am a ding dong who couldn't focus).  This is also the first lesson that I had my spurs on for.

D's Thoughts: 
There was some confusion and D ended up watching another video twice and not ever watching this video.

4.12.16 Warm Up

Video 2:  04.12.16

My Thoughts:
I started splitting my videos into two parts this time.  I have a separate warm up video and then the actual video.  I also did the whole thing without draw reins.  And this was the video where I tried to shorten my stirrups.  The stirrups leathers I have are on the last hole, so I wrapped them then they felt too short so I dropped them two holes, so I don't know if they actually ended up any shorter...

He was pretty locked up to the left and I had some objections to the spurs, but when I do get the shoulder unlocked the head tilt disappears and he softens up front.  The struggle is getting it unlocked especially at the trot.

After the first attempt at the trot I realized I was seriously struggling, so we went back to the walk to regroup.  I am still letting his hips drift right.  I just don't feel that as well as I do the left shoulder.

The second attempt at the trot is better, but he is still too up and braced.  He does give more frequently.  His brain left the building around 6 minutes, then the big drafty butt blocked the camera, so skip to 9:26.

He gets a little rushy in the trot.  I don't really know how to describe it other than he leans and wants to bulldoze through my aids.  At late 12 and early 13, he started wanting to canter.  At 14:45, I went back to the walk to try to get him to settle and stretch more.  At 18:45, I went back to the trot and decided to trot serpentines until he settled again.

D's Thoughts:
When I don't have the draw reins I need to think smaller and slower.  I should go back to smaller circles and the smaller trot and doing spiral in and spiral outs.  It is back to basics to reinforce that he isn't allowed to saddlebred.  I need to be careful about not getting my hands high, because he needs a ceiling right now.

At 4:56, I get a nice give and good body flow.  At 10:17-10:40 he looks really good.  Even when he wanted to get tight he recovers.  I need to slip him the reins when he does give his lower neck.  When he comes back up, I have to regather, but right now I am not giving enough.

At 12:11 he tries to explode, but I managed to reroute it.  When he ducks low and behind I need to push my hands up and out and also add leg.  Yes, he will probably get frantic but it isn't balling up and I can bring him back to the slow (over and over).

When he gets bossy bring him back down to the walk (don't slam him down but a quick transition).  He also is fairly straight this ride, but I need to make sure I am not sacrificing my connection for straightness.  Overall, this ride was much better than D was anticipating (Yay us!).

04.19.16 Warm Up

Video 3:  04.19.16

My Thoughts:
I should have put the draw reins on, but I didn't have them.  He lost all focus because there was another horse in the ring and he was more reactive.  It wasn't terrible but more so than he has been.  We had been walking for twenty two minutes prior to the start of the main video (it's all in the warm up video).  In hindsight, I should have done something different or used the draw reins, but hindsight is 20/20.

D's Thoughts:
I got busted on several things this time around, but as always D was very on point.  The first thing I got busted for was on rough days, I try to stay with my typical plan.  We do lots of 20m circles, some straight and walk some.  On the days that he is tighter this is not going to work.

Also, he was distracted and I never did anything to take his focus from the other horse and put it on me.  When he wanted to lock in and look at the other horse I needed to be changing directions (I did this at 7:16).  I need to put his mind to work, so he is too busy to focus on anything but me.

If I don't have the draw reins I should lower my hands and use them more as draw reins.  Once he has the reminder I can bring them back up, but sometimes he will need that reminder to get his head out of my face.  I also need to stay relaxed.  I was more rigid so he was feeding off me or I was feeding off him, but either way it was not helping the situation.

The other major thing I got busted for was thinking too much.  D said, "I can literally see your brain running around trying to calculate where you want to be, where you are, and somewhere in that how you should fix it."  She wanted to blindfold me, so I had to ride more off my feel.  Right now my instinct is getting muddled by my busy busy brain.  I need to ride the horse I have and not try to be so textbook about things.  My thought process was "OMG I am going to run into this girl.  Are we straight? Are we moving forward?  Ok wait head is in my face.  Let's do this and now crap neck is in my face.  Maybe we should walk."  I need to to be more, "Breathe, no neck down, breathe, no neck down, and so on."

We did get complimented on two things.  One we had decent walk leg yields and the confidence and flow in the walk is great (we just need to get that in the trot).

Video 4:  04.30.16

My Thoughts:
This one is pretty boring, because he felt tired and we didn't do a lot of trot work.  It had been in the 80s and humid.  He still hadn't shed out completely so I thought the he was getting to him a bit.  He had been getting pretty sweaty just walking and the one day he came in from the pasture and was really hot.  Overall he was pretty good.

D's Thoughts:
I struggled a bit with this one, because I was attempting to replicate what I had done with the dressage judge in the clinic.  Unfortunately, D did not agree with this and I was struggling trying to figure out how to compromise.  I will point out that I don't think either are incorrect in their approach and the end goal will be the same, but the paths diverged a bit.

Anyway, back to D's thoughts and not my rambling.  She disliked that I kept the rein length the same in the walk and the trot.  He wasn't really connected in the trot and and I didn't have a way to direct the energy.  Also, I was using more inside rein than outside and it would have been better to bend to the outside then pick up trot or keep the outside bend while trotting.

She also suggested that one days like this when I am mostly walking I should practice turns on the haunches or forehand and do some halt and rein back work too.  I can also incorporate some walk poles or slightly raised poles to make things more interesting.

I asked about the turn on the haunches because he likes to plant his front and not move it (the hind readily swings in all directions).  D told me to think of it like a very tiny circle of leg yield.  I shouldn't try to keep him in place right now (more like a 5 m circle).  If he starts panicking I can walk him out of it, get the brain back and try again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Year Post EPM

Roughly a year ago, Stinker was coming up kind of sort of lame.  He just wasn't acting right (aka he was acting like a normal horse and was happy to walk).  It was very subtle and I was at my wits end, because the vet had been out multiple times and we had done various things, but nothing was working.  When Stinker failed the neurologic test and the vet told me he had EPM and we needed to start treatment immediately.  I was shaken, but hopeful since the vet was very confident that Stinker would recover because we had caught it early.

Not quite right Stinker

As the weeks went by and more and more treatments happened without the bounce back the vet predicted we both were getting more and more worried.  I didn't know if I was ever going to be able to ride my horse again and I was feeling horribly guilty considering that the stress of moving was most likely the reason his immune system was compromised enough that he was susceptible.  He had a top line when D brought him down and all of it wasted away.  He lost weight and quite frankly looked like crap.  His coat was getting dull and he was quite ribby.  I have pictures from that time, but most of them are from odd angles where you can't see his condition all that well.

This wasn't even the worst that he looked.

I have refused to tally up all my vet bills that were directly due to the EPM, but the only non EPM related bills have been routine shots three times.  Right now my vet bill total is sitting right over three grand, so I am estimating the cost of the EPM and relating issues to be just under three grand.  You know double what I paid for the little Stinker...

Pre EPM chunky Stinker

I was able to start riding him at the very end of July.  We started off with very short rides (one or two a week for about ten minutes) and they were terrible.  He was totally panicked and I didn't know how to deal.  Luckily, I started doing the video lessons with D shortly afterwards because I knew I was in over my head and S was struggling as much as I was.  These video lessons have been invaluable to us.  For the rest of the year we muddled along struggling with saddle fit and some other issues.

December was my next big bummer.  I thought we had been making really good progress, but my favorite dressage judge grounded us.  Well not really, but she did suggest that we take several steps back and Stinker should be shod all around (good bye money) to help support his hind end.  The only good thing was I got my dressage saddle and it was a huge game changer.  Stinker was comfortable and willing to try more.  He had been trying but the ill fitting saddle was feeding into the panicking.  I was really bummed because I wanted to be moving forward not backwards, but I followed the advice and we started making huge steps forward.

Hello Precious, you are the best thing ever!

I am so happy with the way Stinker looks.  He is sleek, shiny, and is building muscle in the correct places.  Yes his neck is still upside down and it is going to take quite some time to fix that, but he is building top line and his booty is getting better.  My plan moving forward is to keep working at the walk on the hills until I can get his trot consistent enough in the ring that I feel confident that I can move that outside the ring.  I am going to start doing one day where we work up in the stadium field and do ground poles.

Much better wight and getting the muscle back in the correct places

Right now our work schedule is six days a week, because he feels like crap after the day off.  Some weeks he does get two days off due to work or rain, but I try really hard to work him six days a week.  We have three or four days of walking on the hills (mostly working on bending and stretching, but I have been adding in some leg yielding).  Two days in the ring (one video lesson and one lesson with S).  These are usually the "hard" days where I try to really push buttons and we trot.  Then the flex day is when I lunge him.  I don't do this a lot, but I do like to do it so I can canter him and see where it is at.  I want to get him to where he is strong enough to have a nice balanced canter on the lunge before I add that back.  I am also betting that I will be solid at the trot by then.

So much walking.

As much as I hate that Stinker had EPM and we had to go through all of that, I do think it actually helped our partnership.  I have learned so much from this whole experience.  He has made me a better rider and hopefully we can keep growing together.

The one selfie I have managed to take in the billion attempts.

Monday, May 23, 2016

All The Lessons

The barn I am at had a schooling show this weekend and my favorite dressage judge was the judge.  This means I got to have not just one but two lessons.  Yay for lessons!  It was really nice having two lessons, because we got to progress more.

Stinker was tired and didn't want to get photos taken.

The first one was Friday evening.  I foolishly thought that having a lesson at five would be a great idea.  My plan was to go into work early (which did happen) so I could leave early (did not happen).  I was hoping that the rain would push my time back a bit, but they ended up moving lessons to Saturday rather than shift on Friday.  I was a bit rushed and still stressed from being at work and Stinker was feeling fresh.

So many tired pony pictures.

It was good because the judge was able to help me work through his sassiness and get him relaxed and stretching more quickly than I have been able to do it on my own.  Sadly there was not any video or pictures.  The main focus of this lesson was to get him to stretch and release the tension in his neck.  Once you get him to start releasing, he is more than happy to release the tension.  Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of convincing and accurate riding to get him to start.

Still obsessed

In my second lesson we started building on the releases we had on Friday and focused more on the trot.  I was so proud of him, because the horses were being turned out (read galloping horses not horses being hand walked) and while Stinker did get tense and lose some focus he was totally rideable.  A few months ago this would have resulted in a total meltdown that would have required me to get off and hand walk him or spend 20ish minutes trying to get some relaxation back.

Such a hard life.

The biggest thing from this lesson was the timing of my aids.  I have been doing the right things, but my timing isn't the best.  Basically, I need to half halt, rotate my inside hand and open it, then as soon as I get some give I need to go back to neutral.  And repeat this fifty million times... I was spacing my timing too far out and not give back quick enough.

And he gave up on my attempts to take pictures...

After we got me back in tune, we moved onto some leg yields which were really nice.  Then we got to play with some leg yields and shoulder fore in the trot.  While they weren't perfect I had a horse that stayed rideable and wasn't frazzled.  This is so huge for us and made me so happy.  The icing on the cake happened on Sunday.  The judge told me that she was so surprised at how much progress Stinker has made.  When she saw him in January, she thought it would take a year to get his strength to where it is now.

Friday, May 20, 2016

All The Sparkles

As some of you may have noticed from the pictures on here and Instagram, I have some new sparkles for my bridle.  Ever since I saw my first Dark Jewel Designs Browband I have wanted one.  I was initially holding off because I knew I wanted a PS of Sweden bridle, so when I saw the browband Amelia made for Emma I was totally sold.

So pretty (sorry for the craptastic picture, I was too excited to judge the quality).

Amelia was fantastic to work with.  She didn't even blink at my total lack of direction, she just pointed me to her album of past designs so I could get an idea of what I wanted.  I settled on a black/grey and purple/grey.

Love it (ignore his dinky forelock...he has an itchy face).

The final product was exactly what I was expecting and I love them.  I am not going into all the nitty gritty details because other bloggers have done that, but the bottom line is I love it.  I have been showing it to everyone that appears at the barn.  Poor Stinker is so ashamed that I put him in sparkles, but I love them.

So handsome

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


It was so much easier managing expectations for a ride back when Stinker and I were a hot mess.  I was excited if I could get him to walk or not have his head shoved in my face.  Slowly we got better and my expectations for my rides grew.  Unfortunately not all rides are going to be in the upward direction.  There will always be a ride that feels like a back slide.

At least he is cute!

My video lesson from last week was really good.  Stinker was fantastic, but I was unhappy with my riding.  I have been struggling with my balance lately and it is starting to wear on my confidence.  I think the problem is stemming from my hips.  They have been more out of whack than normal and it is starting to cause problems with my lower back.

I am a little obsessed with my bridle.

This weekend Stinker wasn't as on point as he has been.  He was more reactive than normal and I couldn't ever get him to his happy place.  Our trot work was a huge reversion and I felt like I didn't even have a shot because I couldn't get myself under control.  It was a very frustrating ride and I finally ended it on a semi decent note because all I wanted to do was cry (dramatic I know).

Stinker is getting better at waiting.

After I had time to think about things (aka eat a bag of potato chips and sulk), I realized I was actually mad at myself and the fact that I felt like I wasn't able to ride.  Ok I will admit poor D got a message that said something along the lines of I am a failure I can't ride my horse *crying face* (so dramatic).

Hill work makes for a tired Stinker.

Once I had my pout fest and got my shit back together I actually had a really good ride again.  I had no expectations and was just riding the horse I had and he rose to the challenge.  Now if I can just keep myself in check and remember that not everything is going to be perfect but I can ride my horse and we will keep improving.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Use Your Brain

It has been a rough weekend for the eventing community.  My heart goes out to those that have been touched by Phillippa Humphreys.  And also to those that knew Inoui Van Bost.  As always tragedies like these bring out the best and the worst in people.

For every person that donates to the college fund set up for Phillippa's daughter there is another one that is making senseless comments on the internet.  It makes me angry how quickly people jump to judge and don't think about how harmful their comments are.  Have some sympathy and tact.  You don't know whose news feed your comment is going to pop up on or who is a member of a group.

Now is the time to give your pony and your loved ones hugs, not to sit behind the screen and cause more pain to the people who are already hurting.  With that I am getting off my soapbox and going to hug the Stinker.

Even when you are naughty I love you.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bonnet Help

I've been toying with the idea of getting Stinker a bonnet because we have been really buggy lately. I hadn't done much about it because I didn't know if he would tolerate it or if wearing something would annoy him more. I finally remembered to borrow one and he was really happy in it.

My favorite face.

Considering I really want to get him out on the trails more this summer, I am going to get a couple. I know how much you guys like to help me spend money so what brands do you recommend? I am interested in both custom and also more mainstream.

There is something fowl in the water jump! (Punny I know)

Finally color suggestions for the custom are also welcome. I want something nice for clinics and eventually shows so nothing too wild. In general I am fairly conservative in my colors. Pretty much everything I have is black, white, grey, or purple. I was leaning towards black which I love on bays but I wasn't sure about it on the chestnut. So please help the color challenged so I don't make Stinker any more embarrassed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May Conformation

Tis the season for updated pictures.  I was less than pleased with his cooperation, but I guess it could have been worse.  He was wiggly and distracted and wouldn't relax.  I do think we lost a bit of ground with the under neck because I ditched the draw reins.  I was expecting that and honestly it has been much better than I anticipated.

I love that he looks a little chunky in this picture.

He was especially distracted on this side.

I gave up on this, because he kept swinging his butt to see what I was doing.

May is on top and February on the bottom.

I am so happy with his weight right now.  Yay for Timothy pellets!!  Overall, I think we are still moving in the right direction.  It is crazy how much he has been changing.  His butt is much more up and under him now.  He is standing in the same place, but in February his butt looks several inches lower than it does now.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Massage Time

Stinker got his first massage this weekend and it was amazing!  I am ignoring the fact that he was a total asshole to ride on Sunday (I think he was feeling better and that was the source of the assholery).  The masseuse, Amanda Moretz, was really awesome to work with.  She is based out of Atlanta and here is her Facebook page.

The sad lone picture from the massage

The beginning was pretty standard, the history of the horse and what we want to do and so on.  At first Stinker was not sure about the whole massage thing and was doing his best to distract himself by chewing on everything.  After awhile he started to relax and focus on Amanda.

She mostly focused on his hind, which was very tight.  Basically everything that she focused on was due to the EPM and fairly typical of EPM horses.  I was actually very excited to find out that she has worked with a number of horses that have had EPM.  Below is a picture of the chart she drew up.  The hatch marks demonstrate the areas that were tight.

The notes from Amanda.

His hind end and nervous system were the problem areas.  He had a lot of fascial restrictions in his pelvis.  He was also very restricted in his head (and was less than pleased with having to focus on that area).  I was really excited that he was really balanced (yay for actually getting him straight).  Obviously from his muscling we still have corrective work to do, but we are on the right track.  My favorite part of the whole thing was towards the end.  Stinker gave two huge releases where he puffed his neck up and did a giant whole body stretch.  I failed at getting pictures of them, but it was awesome.

I really hope that Amanda keeps coming back, because I loved how all the horses responded to her.  One was literally hanging on the cross ties because he was so relaxed.  She also does clinics where she teaches owners some of her tricks (I am really hoping we can get one of these scheduled).

In other news, I got up extra early this weekend to watch Badminton #lovemichaeljung

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Horse Keeping Style

My life has been very boring so I am stealing a post from Sara at Autonomous Dressage.

Home/Living Style

Right now Stinker has a stall.  The horses stayed on a night turnout schedule all winter, so they are in during the day and out at night.  I actually really like this schedule, because it means he is in his stall for at most 9 hours per day.  The rest of the time he is out in a decent sized pasture with two other horses (it used to be three).  This also works in the summer because it gets really hot and they are inside under fans during the hottest part of the day.

Home sweet home.

For me, the perfect situation would be a large pasture with a few buddies.  A shelter with fans for feeding and when it gets hot/cold.  Stinker likes having company.  He is very social with horse and humans and when D had him and he was only turned out by himself he was rather bummed.  Right now his partners are a quarter horse that can unlock anything and a Drum (I think) who is a giant pain.  Basically it is all the knot heads and they play and are stupid together and it is ideal.


This is where it gets tricky.  I am still experimenting what works for Stinker.  I would like to make some changes to this but I am not sure what direction to go.  Right now he is getting around six pounds of Safe Choice Senior.  This isn't my top choice but it is the only thing the barn feeds that he will eat.  Hay while he is in his stall (I usually give him some extra) and a small flake of alfalfa.  In the last month I have started supplementing this with timothy pellets.  In addition he gets a combo supplement and magnesium.  He has access to pasture, but I question how much grass he actually eats.

Nom Nom!

Ideally, I would have him on another feed that isn't senior (I haven't researched this yet, but I have some ideas), better quality hay, and pastures that are rotated.  I realize that this is asking a lot (and isn't reasonable in my current location), but we are playing in a perfect world where I don't have to worry about the cost.  Overall, I do think I am getting close to finding the right balance for his feed.


Stinker got a modified trace clip this past winter.  He was clipped once in October and still hasn't shed out.  Our winter is a joke (not complaining).  I think it dropped below freezing maybe five times total and that is barely below freezing.  So clipping was necessary.  I went with the modified clip because it decreased the cooling out time, but left him a fair amount of hair.  I was concerned he would drop weight over the winter and wanted to leave him with as much hair as possible without having a two hour cool out time every time I rode.  My barn blankets for no charge, which is awesome.

Yep all the lines are still there 6+ months later...

I feel like this was an ideal situation and I was very happy with the way it has turned out.  I will probably do something similar next winter and if I move I will reassess based on location.


I am not sure I want to talk about his feet...I am still feeling horrible about the thrush (which is well on the mend).  I honestly need to educate myself more about his feet (more beer for the farrier).  Back in January he went from being barefoot to being shod all around and this has made a huge difference in his hind.  Before I felt like I was consistently losing his hind out behind him and now it is more up under him.  I don't remember exactly how the farrier is shoeing him (he did some tweaks based on how his feet wear to keep things level).  I feel like this situation is pretty ideal and I plan on doing a post about his feet, but I need more time and information first.

No farrier related picture, so enjoy the mini with a scoop.

Vet/Health Care

I think it is well documented that Stinker loves the vet.  Actually the majority of our vet bills have been EPM related and hopefully that will not be happening again.  Basically, he gets the wormer program set up by our vet, the shots recommended by the vet, and regular dental work by the vet.  It is a pretty comprehensive setup and even my neurotic self hasn't found it to be lacking.  I absolutely love our vet.  He is very straightforward no bullshit, but doesn't go worst case scenario on you and is able to handle the owner as well as the patient.

Stinker with EPM symptoms

Example, when he first diagnosed Stinker with EMP he laid out the diagnosis, treatment plan, and information on the disease.  What he did not tell me is that while Stinker was not showing strong symptoms he did not respond to treatment as expected.  Which meant that the case was actually worse than what the vet initially thought and decreased Stinker's chances of making a full recovery.  There was nothing more that we could do and if he had shared the information at the time it would not have benefited me in any way and actually would have caused me a lot of stress and anxiety (which was already high).  It was only after the fact when Stinker was well on his way to recovery that he told me how bad it was.

Training Routine

This is boring as hell right now, but our schedule is 30-40 minutes of walking in the ring, on the hills, or over ground poles in the stadium field three or four days a week.  Then I get the video for D's lessons and have a lesson with S on two other days.  These rides are a bit more fun because there is some trot mixed in typically plus I have someone telling me what to do so I don't have to stretch my creativity.  Depending on the week and how Stinker is feeling he gets one or two days off.

We walk, and walk, and walk some more.

I laugh every time I hear someone complain about trot sets, because try doing all that walking.  We can't even go on the trails because he gets too anxious and I can't get the soft stretch I need for him to keep improving.  The only saving grace is the changes I have seen.  He is getting much softer and less tense.  Plus he feels way straighter and isn't freaking out about my legs as much (he wouldn't be Stinker if he didn't occasionally lose his noggin).  So while boring, I think it is quite effective.

There are some things I wish I could add in.  I wish we had more cavalettis (the barn has two) so I could mix those in there.  I also wish we were to the point where we could trot softly and we could do some trot sets on the hills.  That will happen eventually.  Also if anyone has fun exercises please let me know, because I can only walk over logs and call it XC so many times before I lose my mind of  boredom.


Saddle fit is huge.  I didn't realize just how big of a difference it would make until we went from OMG can't walk to walking for 30 minutes.  So I will never skimp on making sure I have a well fitting saddle (and a saddle fitter who I trust), because if Stinker says it doesn't fit I am going to listen to him.

I don't have a picture of it on him, but he loves it!

He is getting a massage this coming weekend, so I will see what I think about that.  He has had one chiropractic adjustment by the vet (he was checked again and nothing seemed to be out of whack).  I really don't have any of the other extras available, otherwise I would probably give them a shot (assuming they are within my experiment budget).  And yes I have a set budget for experiments with my horse...

So there you have it.  More than you ever wanted to know about Stinker's lifestyle.  I think he has it pretty good.

Life is rough for Stinker

Monday, May 2, 2016

How To Be An Adult

I excelled at being an adult this weekend.  I watched Rolex all weekend, did not do any laundry, did not clean my house, and was not productive.  It was amazing!  I was struggling when I was watching the show jumping.  I really wanted Sinead Halpin and Elisa Wallace in the top ten, but I couldn't figure out who I was ok with dropping a few spots.  It is a struggle wanting all the pretty ponies to win.

I also figured out a new life plan this weekend.  Marry Michael Jung and get Fischer Rocana in the divorce.  Just kidding sort of.  I love that mare, she is all heart.  She isn't the fanciest thing but he has her so freaking correct that it doesn't even matter.  I also love the way he talks about her, you can tell he really cares about his horses.

Sorry Bud, love you.  But I have been cheating in my mind all weekend.

I did manage to squeak in rides both days despite the rain.  Saturday I filmed my ride for D, so I won't talk about it.  Sunday, I had more of a kite than a horse to start with.  It was really my fault, I bought Stinker out right as the last of the horses were being turned out.  He has been acting really mature for the most part.

Typically if I am riding him around when horses get turned out, I will let them turn him out then go get him and bring him back up to the barn and everything is normal.  It was raining lightly and I was in a hurry and thought he would be ok.  He was until I started walking him out of the back of the barn.  He turned into a kite.

Nothing chill like this.  Much more like Clip Clop kicking up his heels on the jog strip.

My original plan was to walk him on the hills, but I figured with his kite like actions that was not going to go well.  I decided to walk him up to the dressage ring pasture (his home) and see if he settled.  On the walk up there I let him trot a bit to get the shenanigans out.  Once we got up there he settled nicely.

The ride was short (maybe 15 min) and we just walked and stretched down working on keeping the connection.  Stinker is really starting to understand what I am asking for and I am able to maneuver him without him freaking out (most days).  I am really pleased with his progress and hopefully we can keep going in the right direction.

Poor Stinker is learning dressage is hard.