Being "training flexible"
After the issue the other day I tried to be a bit more flexible this time.
Instead of boring Aslan with a bunch of transition circles this time, I let him do the more intricate work. I think I will keep flipping it like this so he doesn't anticipate dull lessons. One time we can do transitions and speed and direction, with minor lateral work. The next time can be about lateral work, pole work and refinement. This is just my thinking, because I really don't want him to dislike training because we have to focus on something that is a bit repetitive for a while. Right now he still loves his work. E.g. When my mom went to the barn for me to meet the farrier, Aslan wanted to go into the arena and planted his feet when she tried to take him out of the barn. She said he kept looking at the arena. This is funny because she doesn't train him. But he didn't care. Also, when I go to catch him, he meets me at the gate and when he walk to the barn, he acts like an Arabian. He puts his head up and marches and tries to goad me into trotting with him. I've had to train him to slow the eff down. He had improved and makes an obvious effort to look at me with one eye and slow down instead of cutting me off.
Anyway we worked on:
Circle game - our normal warmup, but I kept it brief. He's getting good at being round and putting his head down. He also offered the weird trot/canter thing. I've been ignoring it, but I wonder if I somehow reinforced this at some point? It's weird. I shall call it the "tranter". Last session I got a chance to feel him do it under saddle and it felt like he was going to canter, but didn't. LOL Oh and we actually did a few steps of a real canter, but man does he "flail" almost like he is going to buck or is protesting. I am assuming he is protesting the increased pressure as I cluck and spank and encourage him to increase speed (gently). He protested when I first started asking for trot several months ago, but now he only protests if I get impatient and increase pressure.
Six buttons: Yep, he always needs to practice so that he doesn't get confused. Especially on his right side.
Sending: I sent him over some poles and in-between them.
Sidepass: Literally a sidepass over the poles. I can't say leg yield because there was no forward momentum. However ,sometimes he did have to yield the hindquarters. He has difficulty moving directly sideways. I don't know if horses require an angle to truly move sideways, or if he just hasn't figured out his feet yet. But he keeps shifting forward and backward over the pole and almost steps over it. Granted, his performance isn't bad for only our second session over the pole.
Steering: I don't think he likes the English contact. He has no problem doing his lateral bending, he just resists and leans against the rein pressure. We have regressed in response to rein cues, especially turning to the right. He sticks his nose up in the air to the left when I cue for right. I could yank and bump but I decided to go back and make this more positive. I asked for small bends and when he gave, he got rewarded.
Oh and his new favourite trick is now perfected. It took him a while to figure out not to just paw at it. But now he gets right up!