He won’t be lunged, all his rehab will be in straight lines. I mentioned the lunge line being connected just in case he fancied upping the pace before I wanted him to! The plan is a friend will walk beside me to start with and clip the lunge line on ‘just in case’ so any attempt to go faster than walk can be stopped. I know he will be sensible and it’s just to make me feel better really. He has never taken off with me before so why should he start now?Could you stay safe riding him but have him go in straight lines? Your mentioning the lunge makes me fear circles. Maisie whom I hacked so happily for many years couldnt circle or be lunged or be used in a school.
As for the dressage - there is more than one route to dressage - Not on Ben of course but if you ever get another horse. eml and my own RI take quite a different approach to moving encouraging the horses to move well from behind.
The problem is that peer pressure and social and competitive norms put pressure on riders (and horses) to do things in a certain way. Because how else can you prove that you can ride? You are not the only one on NR who has done this - at the expense of the horse. What is different with you is that you are making the connection. And an additional problem is that the connection is a possibility, not even certain.
I have fallen out of love with dressage. I have no inclination to ever ride ‘correctly’ or do a dressage test again. And yes you are right, I probably did do it to prove I could ride and Ben could do what other horses do. But I am done with that now!