Re-Establishing our connection...I think will be the focus for the next couple of weeks. :-(
I hit a bit of a lull last night during our ride and came away from it being perplexed and not having a lot of confidence in my ability. Let me back track. On Sunday, we rode (inside) and he was a star. Carrying himself, he was long and low, light in my hands, receptive of my aids. Last night, we rode (outside) and it felt like he was going to pull my arms from their sockets, hanging on my hands, being over responsive to my aids. I tried to keep the canter light (now, he has an amazing canter and normally, I don't even have to touch his face and he will stay engaged, and I just keep my inside leg on), but he was getting heavier and heavier and heavier...when I lightened my hands, he just got faster and faster and faster and heavier and heavier and heavier and longer and longer and loanger. I honestly think he tries to find ways to infuriate me. So of course, he is being a donkey, which makes me get frustrated (i.e TENSE) and it all goes downhill from there.
To try and maintain some sort of rhythm / balance, I figured we would start with level 1 and go back to our canter poles...even THAT was a disaster...he would break to a trot 4 strides in front of it, then bust over and canter away...ugh...that should have been my signal right THERE to NOT jump...but we did, and I shouldn't have...again, he would pull me the last 4 strides to the base of the jump (which was mayyybe 2 feet), fling himself over and then take off like a possessed donkey. So, from trot and canter, I would stop him right in front and then quietly turn and set it up again. I still couldn't get a quiet canter...so, I did it from trot one final time and he cantered away calmly...and I called it. :-(
I think I need to take a step back, re-establish our canter work, get his mental capacity back to where were were a month ago and THEN move forward...I still have 5 weeks before our first event. I need to get better and taking it slower with him. I also think because of the high expectations I have of him, that I sometimes expect too much, too soon...
My promise to Chester for the next 2 weeks: Re-establish our connection, make him comfortable, and get his mental game back on track.
The Boss comes tonight, so if anyone can help us re-connect, she can.