I agree that we both need extensive flat work and dressage. I do work on flat 70% of my rides now. I would love to start taking dressage lessons but unfortunately, my stables trainer does not teach dressage, I don't have a truck to haul my horse and trailer and I can't afford for a dressage trainer to come to my stables. =\ So I'm a little stuck.
Another thing I am stuck with is this impending thing called time hanging over our shoulders. I would love to do a few competitive shows on Jake before I have to cut back. Despite his activity, He's 20 years old this year, and I am afraid time is running out. Now in no way do I want to do anything that will run him down, but honestly I want to be the bad horrible horse owner and not spend 4 years taking the time to try and perfect a horse that probably only has a year or two before the competition level I want to do will be out of reach. It has been this inward battle against time and a training level I can achieve. Now this horse has a forever home, and when he tells me its time to slow down and jump lower and less I will. I want to enjoy him, this old age thing has been becoming a stress of mine.
I do appreciate you comments, they are all things I am aspiring to work on.
SD - I agree, more release is needed over the jumps. I am trying hard not to micromanage him with the reins at all anymore, but it is so much of a habit that its proving hard to break. My hands in the clips were more or less telling him to knock it off with the fighting after the jump, out of habit. I know it doesn't help and only makes him harder in the mouth. -sigh- I have so many rooted bad habits with that.
I'll try what you suggest a little bit. Unfortunately the arena is on 20m/50m? So not a lot of room to randomly put jumps.