Last weekend brought an interesting discovery. I still need to prove it again, but my courage is weakened.
Friday, I got Harley out, saddled up dressage. Warmed up longeline, added some side reins for a touch, then hopped on. Walk was stiff and dragging. I quickly sent him out at trot, because I saw he didn't have any trouble moving out on the line. He trotted decent. I sent him out canter early on, hoping that would be the final 'loosen up' he needed. He went out at canter quick, and I blamed it on my tense hesitation. We both relaxed, he broke gait, so I quickly asked for more canter. I got enough to be satisfied, so I asked for a trot. Without warning, he bolted forward, and I had a split second to decide, "I'm not falling off, so unless you throw me off, we're going to slow down together." I held on with my right hand under the gullet, and my left hand slowly slurking down the inside rein to turn him towards the back of the arena. "A good corner back there to stop him if he does keep on running." I was able to turn him yet some more, and we nearly ran into a jump standard. "Really Harley?! You've been fine this whole time!" Rode him out walk, and trot, and when he relaxed and stayed forward, I quit.
Saturday, I saddled him in the western/endurance tack. Absolutely zero problems. Warm up longe, hopped on to ride. Not an ounce of sass. Walk, trot, canter, all in the same speedyness as the previous day. Not one ounce of pissy. Interesting.
Sunday, I saddled him dressage again, and sent him out on the line. After a while, it looked like the saddle slid up over his shoulders. I straightened it out, tightened up the girth, and sent him out again. More forward-slippage.
Not willing to take any sass, I changed saddles. Again, no problems. Walk, trot, canter, nada. Not one bit of bolt/fuss. A little nervousness at the gusty winds, and the "boogers" he thought were in the trees, but nothing unmanageable.
I'm at a loss, again. Is it the saddle? Is it him being a jerk? Heck, I don't know.
Back to the western tack that I can hang on in, and he doesn't seem to fuss about until I get more answers.