Had a good session with Ceasar yesterday afternoon.
I started with his exercises to stretch his back out. He sure will stretch for those carrots. What will you and I stretch for? Hmm! Anyway, I digress.
I put the halter on, brushed him down and put the saddle on. I could tell he wanted to move off, he was also twitching his tail, which is a sure sign of agitation, unless there are lots of flies bugging him. But I think I was the only thing bugging him then.
Once I got the saddle on him, without the flank cinch, I moved him off and as long as he was with me he was fine, But as soon as I moved him off he decided he needed to buck some. It wasn't an all out buck, but one that was 'I don't like this and I would like it off me' kinda buck. He soon settled down and we got to work. I removed the halter, deciding to work on his 'hooking' on to me better. He doesn't carry his head to the inside like I want, it is like he is looking for a way out, so I kept him moving. I want him to look to me for a place of rest. Instead of escaping away from me he needs to escape to me and find peace next to me. It probably took 15 minutes and dozens of direction changes but he finally looked toward me and came right to me. I let him rest about 5 minutes. Then I took the saddle off and moved around without it on and put it back on him. He didn't offer to buck this time, but still wouldn't stand as still as I want. I moved him off again to see if he would 'hook' on again and it wasn't long before he sought me out. This time the rest was a little shorter, and we did the disengagement and moving of shoulders over and the backup with energy. He is making good improvements on these. I wanted him to walk beside me and keep his attention on me all the time in both directions. I pulled his eye (disengagement) and pushed his eye (moving shoulders) several times. All of this without the halter. I took the saddle off again and then put it back on. He was a little better. He didn't buck at all so I put the halter back on and flexed him on both sides and disengaged using the lead line, did several turns on center in both directions so as to have some directional control and then got on him. The last 15 minutes I rode him around letting him take a few steps then disengaging his hindquarters. I did this in both directions gradually increasing his forward steps until we were going all the way around the pen and could change directions and bend to a stop. We did this all at a walk. In the next session we will do move up to a trot and probably introduce the bit and ground driving. I got on and off a few times and then quit with some good lateral flexion.
Good ride though.