Tough day... I had a meltdown. Fleck sort of did too. But it ended FANTASTICALLY!!
I really think that this Winter has been tough on me with not being able to ride and jump as much. But it's getting better slowly but surely and I'm getting my groove back.
Grid day was at Wishing Tree and it started with a seemingly simple exercise. Trot poles to a small vertical, then around to two bounce poles to a small skinny vertical. The bounce strides were VERY tight though, so Fleck had to be rocked back into a teeny bouncy canter. It was very hard for us. After a few times through I started to get too handsy in an effort to make him stay small. He would start in a lovely collected dressagey canter and then at the poles, lengthen and scramble rather than stay collected and bounce. I could have sworn that I was collecting him while keeping my leg on, but the more frustrated I got, the more handsy I got. And within two or three runs, he was pogoing and doing half tempi' changes down to the poles. I basically told Beth I didn't know what I was doing wrong and was frustrated. She got on and he was fussy with her but not nearly as bad. And he did it. Then I started crying (no... I just teared up! Difference!) because I told her that deep down there was part of me that was afraid I was hurting him and going to break him. She told me that it was okay to be upset... it's just cause I loved him so much. But to remember that he can do this! It's hard because he has to work a little harder so he's trying to avoid it. But that it was more beneficial to him because it helped protect his knees, it kept him off his forehand, and was just better all around. I know this... I do know this. But my brain just sort of freaks out.
So I got back on and Beth said to make sure to close my leg (she took my spur off so I wasn't goosing him) and to ride him into my hands. But that perhaps I was getting a bit too jabby/grabby with my alternating half halts. I needed to focus on smooth gentle half halts. (Unless he was running through them, then I could be sharp once, but had to let go).
So I did that... and counted.. and it was beautiful! Well, mostly beautiful. He got a bit runny a few times but I was able to sit up and make him wait and it got wonderful. Ahhh... yay!
Then the jumps got bigger and then much bigger! I was so proud of myself because I was able to keep riding properly and adjust him. And you know what?! He was so much happier!! And not even compared to when I was losing my cool with him, but even before. Jumping was easier for him and he was soft and supple, so he just relaxed and was happy and confident. Yay!!!
Jeesh though... one of these days I'll keep it together.