Harley - brief longe to "test the mood" -- quiet. I sent him over pole, elevated, pole at the trot and canter. Perfect-O. Little blurbs of break to trot, but he fixed himself and got the strides figured out.
I rode a while. Aimed to ride some trot leg yields like I did at Laura's barn on Saturday - I should know better ... never ask for a leg yield when there's a jump on the quarterline. I didn't exactly stop looking where I wanted to go, but more let my mind scroll thru the cues to figure out why he wasn't yielding. And there it was. The X, less than 4 trot strides out. well, gotta do it now. I haven't asked for canter from the saddle yet.. he's had a very short warm up.. oooh boy here goes nothing.
Step Step. Stinker. Didn't even try to jump it. So I sent him to the other X, set slightly higher.. .Half a jump. We rode both X's a while, both directions. Then I had to decide. Will I hop off and raise the X, or will I set up a second one in line, or ride the pole, elevated, pole, at the canter on the circle.
Circle it is. Entirely too lazy to dismount, and not wanting to disrupt the mojo we had going, I sent him at canter, rode one circle without the poles, and then went for it.
Perfect. Three times in a row perfect. He added a short stride in before at least once, but he stayed in canter, rode them gorgeous. Changed direction. Broke to trot once, reached hard once, but still quiet. The reach-hard trip over felt a little rushed afterwards, but he settled with a heavy sigh.
So I started to think ...
The fitters had mentioned that, with his newfound muscles in the shoulder and his withers coming around, he might not need that front strap on the saddle to the girth anymore... They had suggested I experiment without it, and when I asked why, Louise said, "It'll smash the saddle down on his shoulders if he develops and you keep using it. Very uncomfortable."
Maybe that's been it the whole time. Perhaps Harley has grown the muscles required to hold the saddle down with the original girth straps 1 & 3, as opposed to the 1 & 4 we're using now (with the front strap I'm using attached to the front of the saddle tree instead of the middle like the normal ones are). He has been known to "do what's asked but fight about it" when he's uncomfortable or in pain... Just like when his rear heels were soft & tender, and while he worked, he did it bucking & kicking up.
Something to work on, and make a good effort at. I've contacted the fitters in Scotland, and will adjust my ride plans accordingly based on their feedback. Anybody else got some ideas? I'm all ears.. well.. all girth straps, that is.
And of course, based on that ranting post I put up a week or two ago, it's also likely I'm not as secure in the jump saddle, Harley feels that insecurity, and he's relaying that message back to me by overjumping , and running off to "get it over with". Maybe he feels my lack of balance... Hmm.. Perhaps some shorter stirrup flat work or some stirrup-less 2 point is in order... Hmmm... Still taking suggestions on any of this, too.