One of my ex-students came out to try Top. She was thinking of taking him for the winter. She's a good rider. Rides probably 5 days a week on many different horses. She works for a dressage/training facility. So, she's not a chicken, or looking for issues. I told her most of what I'd experienced with Top.
I have her go get him, and tack him up. Figured she should handle him from beginning to end. I wanted to see if she was comfortable with him, and he was comfortable with her. Everything went well. She laughed at 'how small' he is. lol Top is an honest 16.1 to 16.1 and a half. Little in her world now. I told her he was about as big as I was willing to go anymore. It's not the size while riding so much as the on and off. lol I climb on the fence to get on Top. I can mount from the ground, but I read something about that being hard on them. So, I try to mount none of them from the ground anymore. I'm getting used to it...it is harder for me to get on from the fence or mounting block. 40 years of getting on from the ground builds some muscle memory and habits.
She lunged him, and he was really quiet. He did have shots the day before. She did note that his quietness wasn't 'real'. She was watching him close. She was trying to figure out what it was...I told her, "He's holding through his back, don't believe his quietness now." She laughed again, "Oh, I'm not. We're going to go around a few more times and see that go away before I get on."
She gets on. Hates my new saddle. It pushes you toward a chair seat...I thought so too, but so many people kept saying, "No, it looks good. You look much better in this saddle." I don't like it. It doesn't give a hugely secure feeling if things get 'western'. It also may be that it is new to me. I'll keep riding it and see.
So, she's riding Top around. He looks good. He looks calm. I figure, 'okay, it's me. I'm creating monsters where none exist.' About the moment this is running through my head she says, "I get what you mean about the timebomb feeling." Kind of a double edged sword there. Glad that I'm not nuts, but bummed that he is such a mess. Now, something I never mentioned to her, or anybody else is he does this funky thing with his neck. It is kind of behind the vertical, but not. It is an empty feeling with no contact or control. It is like he isn't there. She pipes up, "I can't deal with the weird neck thing. I feel like I've got nothing...that if he does something there is nothing I can do." Uhhhmmm YUP.
So, she rode for awhile. I then got on. He was actually having a pretty good day. I didn't have any moments of 'oh man, what's he going to do'. He went along really well for Top. We weren't riding in drawreins.
The deal is, I have 30 to 60 days to get him lined out. She doesn't feel she is equipped to deal with his issues at this time. (So, the old fat woman is up) So he needs to be going forward between my elbows and knees, staying in his 'box' and respecting boundaries without checking out...and not feeling like a timebomb. lol If I can do this, he'll have a great winter with her south of here. Getting ridden through the winter, taken out on trails, and she may ride him in her lessons. He'll be in a dressage barn, where things are quiet and sane. I am concerned about trying to keep him in town this winter. With the woman that antagonizes him, I'm not sure he can go in his stall. He panics in there now. Which is a real bummer. He loved his stall...his little secure happy place. (Hoping for Karma on this one in regards to this 'trainer'). So, I have to have him going decently before the rains come.
I'll be riding him today.