After I decided to scrap the show, I was signed up for two lessons with my favorite dressage judge. One Friday evening and one Saturday evening. The Friday evening lesson was one of the worst rides I have had on Stinker in quite some time. Add in the fact that the DJ was doing her best to work her magic on us it was awful.
He would never settle and relax. There was much jigging and avoiding. We never got him truly through. She finally started quizzing me about what the acupuncture vet has been working on and asking me if he had had any physical problems lately. Her biggest concern was that with all the time and energy I have been putting into him, this shouldn't still be a problem. She even went so far as to suggest that maybe I should think about teaching him to drive and not ride him.
Of course that really hurt to hear, because I have poured so much into this horse. Not to mention I don't know if I have the skills to teach him to drive. He was so panicked with the saddle and rider for so long and I would be willing to bet that he would have a similar reaction being driven (seeing as how the people that had him first said he was broke to ride and drive). I at least knew what I was doing with the riding.
I managed to get an acupuncture appointment scheduled for tomorrow, because his next appointment was going to fall when I am out of town. I didn't see the point of doing it if I couldn't ask a billion questions.
Then the weather didn't cooperate and Saturday's lesson didn't happen. But luckily she is amazing and she said if the weather was ok we could have a lesson at 7:00 am on Sunday before the show started. I was a little nervous because Stinker had been in for 24 hours due to the storms. The whole point of the lesson was to determine if he had a bad day on Friday or if there was something actually wrong.
I hadn't really considered him having a physical problem and had been writing off his increase in tension as me being stressed out and him feeding off that. I wasn't sure if Sunday morning was going to be any better because he had been in his stall for so long, thunderstorms always make him anxious, and I am still a neurotic stressed out mess. Luckily he came to play.
DJ got after me for being too passive, which always happens after tense rides. I revert and hang in my aids but never make the changes that are necessary to get him to release. But despite my questionable riding, he was really good. So the conclusion was there isn't a new physical problem and I am just making my horse crazy. Sorry dude, just another couple of months (maybe?).