The thing I love about my horse is that he is, 99% of the time, very safe. Even when he's being a jackass, there's a good chance I can make him stop. I own nothing but snaffles.
And then he goes and pulls a bronco seemingly out of nowhere. And then Trainer A rides him and texts me saying 'he was a total pig'.
We talked during a lesson on Wednesday and on Monday, she was so frustrated with him she could barely see straight. All of their progress, right out the window. All he wanted to do was stomp his feet and pull on the reins. He also took a shot at her, which he hasn't done in almost a year.
A year, you say? Oh what a coincidence. I told her about my posts from one year ago and how he has his little temper tantrum each year at this time. And the look on her face was classic. All of a sudden she remembered last year at this time and what a puke he was. She said she put him on the lunge line on Tuesday before she got on and he put on quite a show of bucking and squealing. Then she got on and he was a lot less piggish, just stuck and not wanting to flex evenly.
Today I got on with the goal of forward, forward, forward. Not the nose out forward I'd used in the past. I still wanted my connection, but I was not going to let him keep stomping his feet and being a brat. The absolute best thing for him in this mood is to break through the resistance and let the energy out. With Trainer A's work to get the bucks out (while I was stuck working late), I got my horse back today. He started with some head shaking and generally unsociable behavior but once he got up in front of my leg, he was back.
Flex in both directions, stop, start, steer. Only one kick out and that was for the whip. We had some more evasions than usual, but nothing dramatic. He was back to work today. Trainer A and I were both completely relieved to see that, in the end, all he needed was a chance to get the temper tantrum out of his system with the dropping temps.
With his schoolmaster gig this Sunday, he'll lunge again on Saturday to make sure all bucks are out. He'll be ridden every day (sometimes twice) until the show to make sure nothing builds up. And then I just have to believe that he knows his job. He'll go in that ring, trot down center line, and sigh because he knows what to do. He's a dressage horse and he understands the sandbox.
I'd forgotten how stressed out I get when I let people show my horse. Please, please, papi, be a good boy. Good boys get cookies, days off, and lazy hacks.