First of all, he was a little twitchy because he's just gotten new tack this week, and it's not wholly broken in. (Well, same old saddle, but...) But even that wasn't enough to explain this behavior. When I was tacking him up, he wouldn't stay still.
But when we got out into the ring, he simply wouldn't move for me, at all. Even for audible cues from my instructor, Kara, he wouldn't move. Just sort of stood there, stubbornly. When I did get him to move, he'd go all of five steps and stop. It was, unquestionably, the most frustrating experience I have yet had, riding.
This went on for easily 20 minutes of the hour lesson, until I finally snapped at Roman, and started pushing him a lot harder than I usually would; he balked even more, doing precisely the reverse of whatever I cued him.
...and then, weirdly, it was like we'd suddenly crossed a line or rounded a corner. My classmate and instructor both saw it; suddenly, Roman started doing what I told him. I got him up to a trot, back to a walk, up to a trot, over the ground poles and even got him going quite fast. He was walking when I wanted him to, trotting when I wanted him to, and not fighting me on it.
It was almost like an entirely different horse. I guess we'll see what happens next Thursday, whether or not this is going to be a lasting change in behavior, or whether I just wore him down today.
When I got down, he was very affectionate again; he gave me a 'hug,' and generally was better behaved.
Overall Roman's gotten in better shape, having another regular rider. So you'd think, given that he's clearly doing better physically and mentally/emotionally having folks who are so devoted to him, that he'd put up less of a fight in the ring! I do love that horse, but sometimes he really makes me want to scream in frustration.
I did also miss the usual Saturday visits the past two weeks; week before last, I was in Canada, and then last week, I was getting ready for a memorial. Maybe that's contributed to his balkiness the past two lessons...