I was in a foul mood today, but fortunately horse therapy fixes that.
We had to do arena work, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go (will he cooperate?) and reminded myself to be patient. I also forgot my apple treats :(
But Aslan was a good boy. I kept it short, and interspersed some of the more stressful activities by allowing him to get up on his mounting step. He loves that thing almost more than the cone. He keeps trying to get up on the mounting blocks for humans and I end up chasing him away so that he won't break them!
Circle game: I have been asking for a canter more often. He is still trying to "run" into it. And now he thinks I'm going to let him stop the second he gets going, so I asked him to keep going. Then I let him step up on his block to lower his stress level, and as a form of reward.
Mounting block: Not bad! He isn't trying to scoot and does his best to line up. Line up is not perfect, but hey, my horse can be 10 feet away and he will line up at the block for me. So if he doesn't line up quite perfectly, I am ok with that for now.
Walk on: Still working on the seat cue, but he doesn't need too much leg right now, not like in some of our previous sessions. I carry the whip to use as rhythmic pressure (not heavy or slapping pressure) but I rarely have to use it.
Trot on: He's actually pretty good at this transition, especially if I use the verbal cue to give him a heads up. I will eventually transition this to the half halt and seat cue, but I'm pretty happy with this one so far.
Whoa: Not bad. I'm so hesitant to practice the one rein stop though. It's hard enough to get him going. But asking him to slow down or stop isn't an issue for the moment.
Steering: This still needs work. He still doesn't want to go in a straight line for very long (though better than it used to be) and often wants to change directions. Of course, if he wants to head in a certain direction without my asking, I will correct him but his softness goes out the frigging window. Not that this is unique to him, all horses pull this stunt. But I am trying to use very gentle contact, and teach him to remain on a straight line, so I frequently need to correct him and then lay off and let him screw up again. Challenge accepted!
The good news is that while trotting I asked him to move back to the wall using only my legs and he did. YAY jackpot!
I still laugh that he slams on the breaks like a mac truck. I can envision a dressage instructor turning over in their grave every time he does it.
Oh and he's still being a boss to his neighbors. He was sporting a nasty new war wound today, though it was only just missing hair, nothing crusty. I'm glad it didn't get his eye. Really wish he would stop being a jerk though.