My last lesson with my favorite dressage judge gave me several things to think about. One of them, which I didn't write about previously, was the question "What goes through my mind in the trot?" Sadly I had to face the fact that basically the only thing was "Oh god oh god oh my god." There really wasn't any thinking going on because I was essentially just trying to survive.
I started puzzling over what is causing this problem, because a) there is no fear involved b) Stinker isn't going to dump me c) I am fully capable of having thought processes on other horses. I realized that my main problem is I lose my balance in the trot. Before anyone goes down the blame it on the saddle rabbit hole, there isn't a saddle in the world that can fix the problem.
When Stinker pops his head up and drops his back out, his hind end seriously lowers about four inches. This knocks me off balance, because one second I can feel his back and the next it is just gone. I am not a talented enough rider to be able to get my balance and to bring his hind back up under him.
Enter yet another of my random off the wall ideas. Get a neck strap. So I am now riding with a neck strap and people seem to think it is because he might buck. That gave me some giggles (his attempts to buck are totally pathetic), but also it is rather depressing to admit that no he can't buck I just can't ride his trot. Whatever, everyone at the barn already knows I am a total weirdo.
I have only trotted with him twice since I remembered to take an old stirrup leather out to the barn, but so far I am really liking it. It actually has the side benefit of getting my hands out of my lap, since I can't hold it and have my hands in my lap. It reminds me to give forward more and not hold so much. When I lose his hind, I can use it for a bit of balance and get hind legs back under him. And best of all I actually feel like I can get some decent trot.