All the pictures courtesy of Aimee
I hadn't ever ridden a half pass nor have I ever studied/read much about them because in my mind that was one of the mythical movements I didn't have to worry about yet. Apparently I need to start worrying about more things. So after trainer explained to me how I should ride the half pass, off we went.
I bumbled my way through things and Stinker kept saying, "Do you want this? No? How about this?" We finally stumbled onto the right combination and got a few strides of half pass. I am sure it was far from ok, but the feeling was there.
And my favorite part was he never said "No." This is from the horse that had strong opinions about legs touching his sides, and if I could bring my leg back, swapping from tall boots to half chaps caused a meltdown. I used to think of him as pressure adverse, because we could not have a conversation about what I wanted. Any sort of correction resulted in OMG CAN'T.
What we really had was a lack of communication. I am pretty sure in the past he had been beaten for giving the wrong answer, so basically anything resulted in blind panic. Slowly I was able to work through the blind panic and start to have a conversation. As he realized that nothing was going to happen (seriously I used to get off and sit on XC jumps and read on my phone until he calmed down and then I would get back on and carry on) he became more accepting to pressure.
I used to be absolutely militant about how much pressure I would put on him. The majority of our rides were spent walking and asking him to stretch. Twice a week I would ride in the ring and at least one would be only at the walk. I didn't want him to associate the ring with pressure. Now I am able to judge things based on how he is feeling. We still do rides in the ring just at the walk, but I am not worried that trotting two rides in a row are going to make him anxious.
I started rehabbing him from EPM just under three years ago, but I am quite proud of the horse he has become. While he still has his quirks and he is not going to be a horse for just anyone he has turned into a very fun horse. Physically and mentally he is not the same guy I had three years ago.