I did ride yesterday and today, and even have a movie to show what we did today. Yesterday we did really well in the round pen. His head was low and I got a really nice trot out of him, but he seemed to have a difficult time loping, so we moved into the "arena" (it's very small, but good enough, especially for lessons and with a new horse!). My dad came out and watch, but of course that was right after we moved into the arena. Snickers didn't do so great in there, but it was a new environment. His head was higher and he was having a hard time figuring out where he was supposed to go. Then, when I asked him to lope, he still had a hard time. The lightbulb went on for me when my dad said he didn't want to stay on the left lead - one side of the arena isn't straight and actually makes a sort of serpentine, so he was stuttering and trying to change leads to accommodate it (my dad's horses, two quarter horses and a paint, just stay on the correct lead and don't bother switching). We did small circles for a little bit instead. Then, I asked him to go the entire length of the arena, but we cut the corners on the crooked side short so he was, in fact, loping straight rather than crooked along the rail. That helped a lot, and by the time we were done, he had calmed down and figured things out a bit more.
Today, we stayed in the round pen. I didn't want to get into a pulling match with him or ride him with heavy hands to get him to drop his head consistently (I felt like I was heading that direction yesterday), so I decided to break out the clicker. It took him a few times to figure out what was going on (which you can see in the video when he backs up after he gets his treat), but it really worked well for him. Eventually, he seemed to grow tired of the treats, so I just threw the bag on the ground and we rode from there. I figured if he got the cue and wanted to respond, then that's what we would do and we didn't need the treats. It worked out pretty well and we had an excellent ride. When I did ask him to lope (still in the round pen), he had no troubles and actually gave me a very beautiful and collected lope with his head tucked. I didn't even have to ask him to collect or drop his head. I don't know if that's just from previous training, his personality, or if he just figured out what I wanted more or less, but it was great!
He was good and sweaty when we were done, so I'm glad he got a good workout. I took him back to Jill's (no troubles with spooking along the road, or really at all anymore!) and fed them all. Snickers and Flash were sharing a bin of hay when I left - I'm glad they're getting along :) Now that Flash likes the peppermint cookies too, I feed them both cookies, one in each hand, when I go over there.
So all in all a good day :) I'm going to work more with Snickers to really emphasize keeping his head low and maybe a little more precision for where I want him to carry his head, but that part doesn't really matter much to me. It just looks pretty when he carries his neck all arched :) Next, I think I really want to work on getting his neck reigning down - we practiced some during his cool down and I think he is just beginning to get it, but we'll need to focus on it specifically to get it where I want it to be. We also tried a little backing, but that didn't go so well. We had a bit of tug of war and took a few steps backward when we did it felt like, so I'd like to really get these things down before I go and mess with the backing thing. I guess we'l see!
I'd like to get him out on the trails soon, but I'm guessing with my schedule that won't be for a few more weeks. I need to get my field experience done for school, which cuts into my riding time, and then I'll be out of town the week of Presidents Day. After that, we should be all clear! I think I'm ready to brave the trails with him, but it's probably a good thing I have to wait a couple more weeks. I got invited to a trail ride tomorrow in the sand dunes and I really wish I could go, but I have lessons and I don't think that's the first ride I'd want to take him on, especially since I've never been there before and want to have at least somewhat familiar territory for us to experiment with. Oh well, all in good time. I can't wait for this summer!
Oh, and I got a little more experimental with iMovie ;) This came out pretty sweet!