So yeah. I knew we'd take our steps back at some point.
After a nice jump clinic on Sunday, Tris came out for his lesson tonight and decided the pile of poles in the corner were scary. He skittered sideways, I applied the dressage whip and pushed him through the corner anyway.
Then we got to the corner with the chairs, where T. was sitting, and it was like a little light bulb went off in his head: if I pretend that's scary, too, then I don't have to work!
Cue 50 solid minutes of: spook, half-rear, spin to the left, land, try to bolt. Everywhere. All the time. It was one big battle royale of who gets to control Tristan's shoulders now?
I also got a nice little remedial lesson from T. in riding a hard spook. Tristan doesn't spook! This horse is not afraid of ANYTHING. But: turn his head to the inside, boot him off the inside leg, half-halt him on the outside, leg-yield him through the turn. Lather, rinse, repeat, even when that means a 3m spinning skid of a circle, as long as I'm keeping him doing what I want.
We settled for actually working in a 20m circle in the middle of the ring; lots and lots and lots of leg-yields, spirals, and transitions. He got a 2 minute walk break only once; other than that, I kept his little butt moving. Some of the work, especially the canters and the transitions, was quite nice, but I was really far too pissed off at him to praise him as I should've.
By the end, we trotted past T. on the bit, but ohhhhhhhh my was I ever considering selling him to the lowest bidder. Or just putting him out front with a sign - "Free Horse!"
Sigh. Could've been weather, could've been soreness from jumping, could've just been he woke up on the wrong side of the stall that morning.
I emailed C. to give him time off until Saturday, see if that sorts his brain out, and I will jump on Saturday morning. Fingers crossed this was an aberration that he's had time to regret, and not a new trend.