She had me use sliding side reins which I need to buy asap. And push him out on the lunge. He was tense. You could see it and he'd come above the bridle but instead of lunging forward like he does with me at shows he'd hit himself and fly backwards, punishing himself.
As he worked, he relaxed and you could see him move through his back more. He endes up working down to being a more relaxed horse in all 3 gates to the left and we started over to the right. When we got right and started all over. Any time Waverly screamed I was ready to chase him forward before he threw a tanty. and he would not canter right. He was very stiff and kept hitting himself.
Carrie said she does this with horses she starts to make sure they have a solid foundation and doesn't get on them until she can see from the ground a horse that looks like a nice boring but enjoyable ride. She said to build a routine at home I can take to a show. Lunge with the aliding side reins until he's relaxed and moving free then ride. She said for a while I'll be lunging longer than I ride. And once we take it to shows (schooling first for a few shows) we'll spend more time getting a rideable horse than I'll spend riding or in the ring. D told me later Carrie said I was very brave to ride Curtis the way he's been the last year. I don't feel brave. I need calming tubes of stuff for him and liquid courage for me to get me through shows.
I also asked her to give me an honest opinion on my set up. She said she's not a fan of micklems and she rides with a clinician who hates them. She said he's incredibly sensitive and the micklem is restrictive and I should try a basic bridle. Which I haven't used on him since he was a tiny baby. I borrowed one from T and he looks very handsome in it. We rode in it today and it's different but so far not better or worse. Carrie also said to try an eggbutt. She says they are a bit better for horses that are sensitive and avoid contact vs the loose ring which she says is better for horses that pull. So a new bit will be ordered with the side reins.
Of course a bridle won't magically change anything but a setup he's not 100% in won't help. And hopefully a winter of back to basics with a tack change will help me get a horse I'm not afraid will kill me.