"He's holding you hostage up there!"
"I know you feel like you're about to die but trust me, you can ride this."
"Get it done or this is never going to stop!"
"I don't care if he bucks, gallop!" "Of course you don't care, you're not on him!" "Don't make me chase you because I will!"
"Feel that? That is throughness!"
Potato vision! But at least I have some media
The plan today was to pick up the pieces after our introduction to flying changes. Theo was so far behind my leg he might as well have been in another state. He weaponized his changes to keep me from getting him in front of my leg. Swapping leads all over the place and bucking kept me from kicking him back up into the bridle. Trainer Z was right, he was holding me hostage. And I did not want to do what was needed to kick through this. I don't particularly enjoy riding Theo's tantrums, he's quite powerful. But as she said, if I don't do something, it will never stop. So I sat up, sat back, took a deep breath, and kept kicking. I ignored all of the drama going on underneath me and just kept kicking. I'm back in my snaffle bridle full time while we pick up the pieces and rebuild.
It was a very sucky 30 minutes of convincing him that I was no longer going to back off due to his theatrics followed by a very productive 30 minutes with quality trot and canter work. I got my pony back. The one that has a rock solid counter canter and easy transitions. The one that takes the bit with confidence and fills up the bridle.
We also rearranged my thigh blocks. It never really occurred to me that my short thighs mean that my knees jam into my blocks at entirely the wrong spot. She pulled them loose and twisted them so they don't force my knee back. We then shortened my stirrups by a half hole and my legs settled in against his sides. Well, that's a thing. It's not a total fix but it did stop my saddle from forcing my knee off of his barrel and my heels into his sides. I'm planning to pull my blocks completely off my saddle for a couple rides. Assuming that's a step forward, I'll look into getting some smaller thigh blocks. I'm also going to borrow a Prestige saddle from Trainer Z and I'm talking to EQ Science about a test ride.
I needed this lesson to start to rebuild my confidence. And Theo's. Trainer Z said something similar during our lesson. We had to introduce the changes because he was so dang good at the counter canter. Fine, that's done, now we go back and pick up all the mess we made. He learned a lot and it changed his canter for the better. Now I need to find some of the joy again and kick my way through all of the nonsense we've picked up along the way.
Mid-level dressage is hard.