It's one of those things I procrastinated typing out, because, no matter how I slice it, I wasn't strong enough to fight with an overzealous gate-sour horse. Romeo and I were fine in warm-up, took first on the flat (yahoo!), and then he just snapped.
Warmup - Ran through #1, jumped #2 pretty, bolted over #3, landed in canter, big circle to the inside after #3, jumped #4, big circle. Asked Robin, "What can I do differently?", and the response was "You did it right, don't worry about it. Now that he's seen it, he'll be fine." That's what I thought, too.
Class #1, Ran through #1, Jumped #2 pretty, Jumped #3 pretty, landed & then decided to canter. Huge circle away from #3 up to #4. He looked at #3 again, because obviously shaking me up twice wasn't enough. Ran through #4, almost taking the standard with him. I circled him big, and called it a day. Didn't finish Class #1, scratched Class #2.
If we'd had a good show-day, with clean rounds, or at least if I'd done decently in both jump classes, we might've had Champ or Reserve Champ. I decided after one round of Class #1, it just wasn't worth it to end sour. Completed as a finalist, and we should receive the series blanket in the next few weeks.
I could go on with a list of excuses. I didn't practice all four all the way around, didn't set up the course like I could have Saturday. #1 and #2 and #4 didn't have ground rails, #3 did on both sides, I was looking at the gate instead of past the fences, I didn't get enough energy going forward on #1, the list could go on forever. Plain & simple, Romeo got sick of working, and waited until show day to share that bit of info with me. He decided to get sour, and I am not strong enough of a rider to push him through it. Video review showed I was solid after #3 in both rounds, and I insisted he come back down to me, sitting the canter, deep air brake breathing, and he did come back to me. He was otherwise ignoring all aids, not paying attention, and just chose to use his 1,000+ body mass and newly acquired muscle development against me.
So Sunday, I ventured home, unloaded all my junk, and mentally unloaded my junk as I tacked up Chewie. At lunch Sunday the decision was made to set Romeo aside for a bit, work only on flat work with him, including trot poles & cavaletti, and focus only on Chewie over short fences & at canter. So I did. I set up a series of ground poles & one short crossrail. We did some trot & canter in the round pen (both leads), and trot over the line series.
The week was a repeat of Chewie's Sunday. He was solid, only giving me a little trouble to the right once or twice. In the arena Saturday, he was incredibly lazy, tripping, stumbling, and just seemed overall "2 year old in the candy store" grouchy.