Not Theo this time. Just me. More specifically, my hands. This is not a new phenomenon.
Since I spent two years out of the saddle, a lot of my muscle faded to zilch. This is kind of a good thing since it means I'm now rebuilding under supervision with a well educated horse. All those weird habits I picked up due to survival or Theo not being at all on the aids? We're removing them one by one. I'm also slightly less warped through my body due to having very consistent chiro and some PT. Trainer Z is happy to see my lower back strengthening and she no longer has to yell for me to sit up or sit back. I don't collapse to the left the way I used to. It feels natural to have Theo step up under the saddle and to sit on his hind end. He's got enough forward now that I'm not squeezing and kicking every step just to maintain. Go us.
I also got moved into rowels. That helps.
But then there are my hands. Especially my right hand. It just goes rogue some times. We're going along, things are fine, and then something tenses or gets off balance and my hand will go up near my shoulder. And Trainer Z is like 'hand!' and I look down like 'wtf when did you get there? and why??!!'. No one knows. It's like there's a second brain in my right wrist that just does whatever it wants. Counter canter is currently a reliable trigger for that hand going bonkers. Need to set up a counter bend before I start the loop which does tend to make Theo shorten his neck. The canter is now so calm and balanced that I should be able to just deal with him getting a bit short and have a lovely movement.
I look down and my hand is in a different zip code and Theo has no idea what way I want his body. Cue tension and collapse of the canter. Whhhhhy.
Right now, in an attempt to get my elbows connected, rogue hand under control, and everything in a straight, clear communication line, I am riding with my thumbs turned out. Like a lot. It looks weird but its retraining my arms to get in and form a straight line with the bit.
Words have changed a lot. I now compress my horse rather than always goosing him up to go forward. I know when I've got collection because it feels like he could go in absolutely any direction and I should sit very still because he WILL go any direction if I shift. He keeps getting stronger and maintaining the frame and balance is no longer a debate. If I set him up correctly, he coils like a spring. It's just making a lot of things very different. Forward tendency in the halt used to be something I snorted about. Theo? Forward into a halt? Never. Now he can and now I have to ride him that way.
The sport does keep us all humble. Theo and I used to get 8's for our halts. Guess what we did for about 15 minutes in my last lesson? Learn how to ask for a halt correctly. It improves the trot depart dramatically of course. I've got to be ready for the depart now so I don't loose my balance when he bounces up into his depart.
I'll take it as an achievement if Theo manages to trot me out of the saddle because his back is up that much.