We've been doing a bit better. KAT rode him on Thursday and used a ported bit on him. We've been discussing getting a slightly stronger bit for the shows so he listens a little faster but I am afraid I'll do more damage than good. I'll get over that just like I got over being afraid of wearing spurs. I could tell right away on Friday that his lope was better. We actually spent some time loping one-handed on a draped rein without me fussing with him. He wasn't going too fast and he was staying nice and upright. We're not going to be the slowest horse in the pen, but right now any slower starts to feel choppy. I think we'll continue to improve, but I simply will not show a choppy lope just because it's slow. I tried to ride him on Wednesday with my English bridle and it wasn't pretty. I started off with my western bridle, currently with a medium shank broken mouth "snaffle" (though I know it's technically not) with a curb chain. I switched to the English bridle and he was fine at the trot, extending correctly and was responsive to my aids. Very quickly he started to get above the bit, especially at the canter, and then it all went to hell. I couldn't get him to collect and round his back and ended up with a weird bouncy stride with his path all wonky and dropping one shoulder then another. I just feel like I have to muscle him into contact with that slow-twist D-ring snaffle. I've had some suggestions for what to use and I think we're going to ask a barn mate if we can test ride her bit. She has THIS MYLER BIT. It is similar to a kimberwicke because it has slots on the dee for the cheek straps and reins, and a curb chain, so it gives the curb chain pressure like my western bit, but it also swivels in the middle so you can give pressure on one side or the other. I still need to sit down with KAT and have her explain exactly how it works so I understand better.
I accidently rode without my spurs yesterday and he wasn't bad at all. Slower response time and bigger leg movement so my equitation was off, but he still listened well.
I have one lesson scheduled this week. I don't have to work as much this week as I did the week before the last show. I'm going to ride every day and hopefully get a day when I can spend the whole day at the barn and ride a couple of times. I'm going to show in the same classes as last time, but hopefully there will be fewer horses in my English classes. We're taking the horses in the night before the show so we can ride there. I'll get there earlier the morning of the show than I did last time and lunge/ride him in the morning before they close the ring to set up the jumps. I'll make sure to give him a break between my horsemanship and pleasure classes this time