Today's lesson was.....frustrating.
Ever since the horse trials, Champ has been increasingly resistant to going forward, to working with me in the ring, to doing any kind of upward transition. Tuesday morning was so bad, I gave up and went back to the barn after twenty exceedingly frustrating minutes of trying to get him to move straight, to go from walk to trot, to go from walk OR trot to canter. Nothing.
My trainer checked him over, we talked about the issues, and she said that it was possibly his teeth. The last time he had his teeth done was two years ago, so maybe his mouth is bothering him. She called the dentist to get an appointment set up for Champ and a few other horses at the barn. We decided that we'd try to see what the deal was at my lesson on Thursday, which was today.
When I got out to the barn this morning, Kathy told me that one of the little girls rode Champ yesterday -- walk, trot, canter, jump, no problem. What was wrong with Champ was.....me. Specifically, it was probably that my hands were too heavy, that I was using too much rein, and trying to hard to make this Quarter Horse into a dressage champion. He isn't going to move like the big Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods I have ridden, and I can't make him. Okay, right. So, lighter hands. Less half-halting, less playing with the bit, less of everything. Fine, not a problem.
I got on and he was okay. But then we started working on trot work -- serpentines, circles, stuff like that. I let my hands be as light as I could and still have *some* collection for the increased speed of the trot. I felt like I was barely hanging on at all. But it was like slogging through wet cement. He wouldn't stay going at the trot, even with a serious amount of leg, some crop, and a lot of seat.
My lesson partner and I swapped horses. I have ridden Sailor (17h Belgian/TB) before, and he is like riding a freight train. He takes a lot of leg, too, but he definitely can go and stay going when he wants to. The trot was wonderful, so smooth and bouncy and so energetic compared to Champ. After a while, though, I had a hard time staying in the saddle and was flopping all over the place. Couldn't stay sitting up, couldn't get my balance, couldn't use my leg independent of the rest of my body. It was like I'd never ridden before. I COULD NOT get him to canter. Could. Not. My trainer had to break out the longe line and I had to use a crop before I even got him going. Ugh.
Meanwhile, Champ was jumping around a course of fences like his tail was on fire, making his turns, jumping everything without a problem.
When I got back on him, we cantered, and then galloped like a bat out of hell, and then we went in. I couldn't even think about jumping him myself. I don't know what mental or physical block is screwing me up here, or what the deal is, but I am just unhappy. I'm sure I'll get over it, but it sure isn't fun right now.
Maybe I'm just destined to be a trail rider.