So, I’ve ridden twice on my own with the new bit. I do think that he’s coming behind the vertical more but it is forcing me to ride better. It’s forcing me to really ride from back to front and to not use my hands too much. For now, I’m going to keep using it.
Sometimes PJ gets in a mood where he anticipates what I’m going to ask him to do: “Oh, you’re going to ask me to canter now,” so he does it before I ask (and I wasn’t going to canter, I just wanted to half-halt and send him forward). I could see it stemming from one of two motivations: 1) he wants to please me; or 2) he’s just trying to get the ride over with. I’m pretty sure it’s number 2. Why? Because he isn’t going well before I ask for something. He’s running through my half-halts and he starts out particularly sluggish. I ended up doing lots of different things. Sometimes we cantered. Other times we walked, and sometimes we just half-halted for a few strides and then continued on. It took a good half-hour before he listened to what I was asking instead of trying whatever he felt like.
It’s funny that these days generally happen on the weekend. Yesterday, he was great. Maybe today he was a little tired. Or it may have been related to him being freaked when I led him into the barn. They were loading hay into the hay loft and the noise from the hay elevator and especially the sound of the guy in the hayloft throwing the bales were a lot for PJ to handle. It took a lot of spooking before I could walk him into the barn. Who knows why? It could have been that he didn’t sleep well last night. That’s what keeps it interesting.