I rode Bart not long after lunch. He's going to a horse show next weekend and his momma is away for this weekend so keeping him going and nice is important. But not messing him up is important too. So nothin' fancy and nothin' complicated.
He's a nice horse. Maybe not as under himself as one would want. As always, I free walked him several times around the arena. He did not look at the "scary end" at all. Later in the trot his neck would raise a bit but nothing more there. I used a bounce pad under the cantle and I think that helped a bit. I'm not sure if I've got the stirrup length right still. Not too long, not too short. I felt like I was able to sit up nicely but one never knows that really unless one has photos or a witness.
After free walk I brought him together and continued walking, shortening and lengthening and doing some leg yields. At first when I asked him to step up more, he wanted to trot but then he got what I wanted. At the trot my first concern was to have some freedom forward and he did. At the same time, he stayed nicely round except for some lookie at the scary end circle but he would go right back to work. I kept him on various 20M circles for the most part and tried to trot enough to make myself breathe hard. I know this is a sad commentary on my out-of-shape-ness.
Back to free walk then. Then bringing him together and asking for spirals first in walk, then in trot. In trot I'd keep him on the inside circle for a few rounds because those smaller circles really ask him to step under himself, then we'd spiral back out. I had some trouble keeping the rhythm -- he would slow. What he did not do was pop his shoulder which was nice. We did that a couple of times both directions, changing direction by going down the long side then across the diagonal to give him that forward headspace.
At that point my helper showed up to work and I had to stop for a few minutes to let her know what needed doing and to talk with her mom and that was enough to make me forget the rest of what I'd been thinking I'd do next. I'd meant to do stretchy circles and serpentines. What I did instead was a series of transitions, just walk to trot to walk, but focusing on accuracy of placement and quality of transition.
He was actually breathing a little hard when we quit -- probably as much as I was. Boy, is he fun.