I'm falling more and more in love with this boy.
On Tuesday evening in the wind we came up and did some groundwork. He was lovely and responsive and relaxed. His claustrophobia behind is developing, and he managed to back up over a pole much faster than the other day. We then worked on our circling game, where he relaxed faster, and ended up walking nicely with a good stretch on both reins. I was super excited when I managed to ask him to stand with both right feet one side of the pole, and both left feet the other side! He's really gotten the hang of stopping with his front feet over the pole, so I felt it was time to step it up. It wasn't easy, but after a bit of patience and perseverance we made it.
Today the weather was warm but with a cool breeze. Sarah kindly waited for me before getting Franks in to ride, so we saddled up and joined them for a gentle mooch up the track. It's the first time I've ridden in almost two weeks, Other than his usual habit of being a little joggy on the way back, he was good as gold. I just need him to relax a little more and not feel he needs to rush on the way back! It's hard, because I think it must be partly something I'm doing, but I just don't know what. I've been much more relaxed in my riding over the last few months, but perhaps I'm still overthinking it.
When we got back, with all of the jogging, he was very sweaty. He stood very nicely whilst I sponged him down (of course he rolled when we got back to his field!) and I was super pleased. When we got back down to the paddock, I decided to do a bit of ground work (mean mummy I know!)
We did some work on backing up from the first gate to the second. Then I asked him to circle - left rein, lovely. Straight out, nice and relaxed, and stopped when I asked him to. Right rein - well, it was far more lively. I'm not sure if I have a stronger send with my right hand because it's my dominant hand, but I found this evening that he responded better to no carrot stick being used on that rein. His disengage was much improved, which was a big positive.
All in all, I'm so pleased with my gorgeous boy. If I can really stick to my ground work, we are absolutely going to be rocking it in the future. And I will stick to it!