Where to go from here?
This is more of a rant than a question...
Today I was re-watching some old riding and show videos of me and my horse (Ace). I can barely stand to watch them. Our first ever show was a hunt seat walk trot class. He fought me and cantered when he was supposed to be trotting. His head was up in the air, and he was constantly looking for another horse, who was tied to the trailer. It was a disaster. Then (no videos of this, praise the Lord) at another show two months later, he ran away with me. We were cantering, and he just kept getting faster and faster until we were lapping everybody and almost ran into people and it took me a while to slow him down. That was super embarrassing. All this was 2012. Last year was better, but we still had many rough moments. I watched one video of a whole class last March where he missed his leads, flung his head, and pulled on me constantly. I've been to two shows this year so far. I would have thought after starting lessons last summer that we would have been much farther along by now. The first show, a month ago, was very disappointing. The most recent one was much better-he was lots calmer and more focused, but he still didn't do as well as he could (like at home or at a lesson.) Since starting lessons, he has gotten LOADS better in everything--he's much softer, he doesn't pull as much, he's more obedient, and all his gaits and transitions are smoother. At home, at lessons, even warming up at shows (for the most part.) In the show pen-it's all gone. He reverts back to pulling and being very sloppy. Granted, there has been much improvement since our first show, but he is still not fulfilling his potential. His trot has become so big and powerful, but at shows he hollows out and plods along. His downward transitions have become smooth and consistent; at shows he dumps on his forehand and trickles to a walk.
All of this upsets me so much because this is the one thing that I want so badly (to make him a very successful show horse) and I can't even achieve it. When I bought him, the owners said in 30 days he'll be ready for AQHA shows. The way they had him going, he easily could have. I bought him, things fell apart, but since late last summer he's finally doing better. The ways he looks and feels at home, he could easily do an AQHA HUS class and be competitive in the novice. But when I show him (which is just in small open shows right now) the way he performs is no where near AQHA level; I laugh at myself for even thinking he could do it. I haven't had a lesson in a while, and I have one again next week. I'm banking on my trainer to help me. He's given me lots of great advice so far, but it's still not enough to be where I want to be.
I've had this horse almost 3 years, and while we've improved so, so much outside the show ring, he hasn't really proven himself in a show. It's so sad and disappointing because he's not doing his best in shows. I don't know if it's me, or him, or a combination, or what. All I wanted to do was show this horse AQHA. I'm not giving up, but I'm now not sure if that will happen. It can, but only if things majorly change.
So there's that. If anyone has any advice, feel free to tell me. I need all the help I can get.