I warmed Red up while M was putting her horse away and whatnot, and he was being a gigantic pain in the butt. He was paying very close attention to everything but me and just yanking my chain. He was a little sweaty by the time M got up to the ring, so she had us start by getting him to give to the bridle at the walk. This involved a lot of inside leg, holding onto the outside rein, massaging the inside corner of his mouth, and... waiting. M came over and took the reins again, like last time, and she, in her words, "stayed on his shit" about it until he gave up and released the base of his neck.
|I'm sure he misses winter hacking.|
We progressed to trot work, which was just as teeth-pulling, to be honest. He's a lot harder to ride than Mo because his evasions are more ingrained: he speeds up, he stops forward motion, he braces with his head up, he braces laterally and won't bend. And then he gives and he's magical, like you could do anything, just go half pass because why not. But then he's gone again.
A rider more advanced in dressage could surely get him to come round and stay there. M, for instance, because that's what getting your silver medal on an OTTB you trained yourself earns you. I will be able to, but right now we're finding ourselves at a clashing point: his stubbornness about not giving and my imperfect timing.
|You want me to do what?|
I just wanted to look him in the eye and be all "DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT YOU ARE WORKING SO MUCH HARDER TO AVOID GOING ON THE BIT THAN YOU WILL BE IF YOU JUST GO ON THE BIT???"
But that might be a bit hysterical.
M thinks that he just has to believe that I'm going to make him do it and keep him there and then we'll be aces. I really hope so, because he's tricky and weird and it's kind of demoralizing, but I honestly don't think I have a prayer of enjoying a jump school on him until we get this done, let alone progressing in dressage. But it'll come, and probably faster than I think. And if it doesn't? Oh well. He's fun to hack around and he's already served his time as a show horse. But it WILL get done, dammit.
Next up: Mo the Slug.