After numerous flight delays and getting up at 2:30 am to catch the earliest plane to Austin, I was finally reunited with my big boy. I was over joyed. Brego was more concerned about lunch time. I try not to take the desires of his stomach personally. :)
My dressage trainer rearranged her schedule to meet with me at the last minute because I was a day late getting into Austin (thanks, Delta!). She showed me how she has been training Brego over the last 6 weeks, how to longe him properly to get him engaged, and how to work with him in hand. After being up all night and two very turbulent flights, I was having trouble reacting to Brego fast enough to reward or punish properly, but I think I got the idea.
When I was tacking up Brego again I was overwhelmed by his size. He's not overly tall, but he is BIG. Just big... everywhere. And only being worked 3 times a week has gone to his head. He was pushy and overbearing and definitely confident in his own prowess. Honestly, I was really intimidated by him. Being away for 6 weeks had certainly softened me and I was not feeling well after the flights. I seriously questioned if I could handle him and wouldn't it be better to just not ride.
But, I am glad I did, because Brego is a different horse. Thanks to my trainer's tireless efforts, he's just different. He moves off the leg into a HUGE trot that I can barely keep up with my hip fully opened at the top of my post. He is just so big and expressive. It's very hard to explain, but my manageable plodding boy was transformed into a hair-triggered bounding beast and I had not progressed at the same rate to handle him. He was very well behaved, but I felt like he was on the edge of getting away, not bolting, just being too big, over the top with energy and explosiveness. I know that's what makes a good dressage horse, but after some time off, it was a lot to cope with.
Even leading him, he is "on", starting with a jump in his step and stopping suddenly with his hind legs underneath him. He is tuned, very tuned, and it takes some getting used to.
I just hope I can keep him tuned like this while working on my own reflexes and reactions. I don't want to deaden him again, since this is exactly what he needs.