I got my measuring tape out and measured my morgan mare who is 14.3 hands and 900 pounds according to my tape and she is in really good shape. Compared to Joey, I can stick my hand sideways between the tape and Raven's hide and have 2 inches left. So Joey is quite overweight.
Well, anyway, I got him in the pen with halter and 22' lead. I started to work on backing him and decided to get forward motion out of him and let him relax a little more. So I had him moving at a trot 5 laps in both directions then started asking him to change directions several more times. He was doing this pretty good so let him stop and rest. Then I worked on lateral and vertical flexion. No problem there. He only got confused 1or 2x on each side. And I did it 10x on each side. He did real good at this. He is going to be real soft. Kathryn you did real good at working his softness. This is what will help him get into position/balance in order to be relaxed in his gait.
Then I worked a bunch on backup. He is getting better, but still to sluggish at this. But my walker is a similar way. I wonder if walkers have this issue. I have heard they do. It is like he doesn't know where to put his feet. Then I worked on disengagement of hindquarters. This went well. And as I said, I am always changing things up, paying attention to his body language and reading if he is getting mad. I could tell yesterday some of what I was doing was making him mad. He started swishing his tail and pawing with his front feet so I took that and just let him move his feet and relax. At that time I was merely flogging him with light strokes of the stick and string. He wanted to keep moving so I kept it up til he stopped. I did the same thing today, but he didn't get nearly as restless. In fact, finally, he stood still and let me do it. This is a step in getting him to stand still when saddling or mounting.
The last thing I did with him today was to have him move around the pen and work more on changing directions with flow and transitions from trot to canter. When he cantered I had him just a few steps then let him back down and stop with a disengagement and one step back and rest. We did this several times in both directions. This will also help him to not want to buck when I ask for a canter from his back. That has been part of the issue with this horse according to his owner. So tomorrow we go back and review and then take it one step farther if not more.
It has been so hot out there 87degrees today, I think. So we were both soaked. But after walking him off he was pretty relaxed with the whole thing.