I learned a lot on Saturday when I had my lesson with my favorite dressage judge. The biggest thing I learned was I am trying to over ride and I am making my poor horse crazy. I over think, attempt to over achieve, and now I can add over riding to the list. And it explains quite a bit. Like how the more I try the worse things get, but when I say screw it and chuck the reins at him and read a book he is fantastic.
I was really disappointed that the judge wasn't arriving until Saturday, but I had asked her if I took a video on Friday if she would watch it with me and we could go over things. She said yes, because she is awesome like that. I really didn't want to show her the video because it was bad. I felt myself holding and holding and holding, which Stinker does not appreciate (I'm sorry dude, I do love you).
Watching the video was very informative because we could sit there and discuss how things felt and what we were seeing. We finally hit on something I have been feeling, but haven't been able to really put into words. There is a lot of disconnect between his hind and his front end. A lot of the time he feels like he is pulling with the front and letting his hind trail out behind. If I try to push his hind up under him like with a normal horse he gets all balled up and everything falls apart.
The problem is he is too uphill. He can't find his balance when he is really pushing with his hind without bracing through the under neck. He needs to find the sweet spot of stretching so he has access to his top line and pushing from his hind. For now the best way to access this is using lateral work.
The lateral work slows him down, doesn't make him feel trapped, and gets his hind end working. So right now, I need to keep my brain distracted while I ride so so I don't over whelm him and use the lateral work to keep things soft and slow. I am excited to see how we progress with this new plan, provided I can actually carry it out.