Bridget got on PJ today and when she was done, then it was my turn. So, here’s her take on him. He goes forward, but what he doesn’t like is maintaining the contact while going forward. To avoid this, he spooks, which for him is picking up his head and stopping. The fix, kicking him with your inside leg and if that doesn’t work, wailing him with the inside whip; turn him in a circle and keep his inside hind working, which keeps his head down. When he raises his head, you have lost control, and he knows exactly how that works.
Bridget did not expect PJ to be bad for me because she had worked until he gave in to her, but right away, going to the right, as we came past the centerline I felt him suck back and then he threw his head up. Luckily he doesn’t intimidate me and with Bridget’s directions, I was able to figure out the timing and feel to keep him moving forward into the contact. When he was going correctly, the contact was heavier than it used to be, but I think that’s a good thing, because I always thought it was too light for such a big and big-mouthed horse. It was a hell of a lot of work to keep him going and I had to take frequent breaks even though I only rode for 15 minutes.
Our plan moving forward: I will take 2 lessons a week with Barbara, and Bridget will ride him one day a week possibly with me getting on him after she rides him. We will re-evaluate at the end of the month.