The problem is our jumping ability has quickly outpaced our dressage ability. We suffered through a BN dressage tests to have amazing rides XC and SJ. Currently we're coursing @ 3'3" and have schooled some 3'6", to the point I think I we could handle a course. He's a dream to jump, so easy, just point, add leg and hope there are no other fences he might was to jump right after that. He has a great cadence and balance between fences, rolls back like a cow horse, and doesn't bat an eye, just jumps.
Dressage... ugh... whole nother story. Our trot can be glorious. Stretching, impulsion, bending, heck we've done some lateral work just to keep his little mind occupied. And then he snaps his head up and does an impression of a Tennessee walker. If I drop the reins and scratch his neck, sometimes he'll go back to a relaxed position. The canter work has been the bane of our existence. It's come a long way, most of the time he is rocked back on his hind quarters and cantering with a lovely uphill rocking motion. Then suddenly he'll root down and practically fall on his face. Where he has a lovely stretching action at the trot, he's exact opposite in the canter. He's balancing somehow with his head way in the air and his neck locked. No clue how he manages this one. He always looks angry, unless we're jumping or out in the field.
I've looked at saddle fit, pads, bit fit and spurs... I'm not huge on gimmicks like martingales, draw reins, etc. But I'm wondering if I should be. My day-to-day coach just keeps saying not to stress about it. He's come so far. 2 yrs ago he barely trotted without hitting a wall or tripping over his feet. Now he w/t/c and jumps... who thought he'd actually be athletic enough to jump... ok I did, but there were moments when I thought 2'6" would be it. I don't have the funds to take him to a great dressage trainer a few times a week or to send him away. I'm lucky if I get to go once a month, especially with winter on it's way.
*sighs* This is why you don't get a green horse going into a new discipline. When I rode hunters, I was the go to person for schooling a horse, particularly "problem" horses. I cleaned up in any ring, but now, I struggle just to stay in the ring (it is funny at times to get jumping form comments on your dressage test, but not really).
I wonder if I'm not trying to make him fit a mold his big ole butt doesn't fit in. Is he just a jumper? But even as a jumper I feel he should have great flat work as it makes the rounds soooo much easier. Bleh... I don't know. All I know is this winter, I have a bunch of clinics to go to and little schooling dressage shows to see if we can't gain some experience. I'd really like to compete Novice in the spring, we've already schooled Training level fences. But if the dressage is not up to snuff, what's the point?
Maybe I'll get lucky and win the lottery... It's a nice day, I think a trail ride is in order.
Thanks for being my ear... some times you just need to vent.