Last night I had a good session with Ceasar. He is making progress. I am trying to help him get over his saddling issues. He stands to saddle and get on now. That is good. What I do after that is just keep disengaging him softly, and moving his shoulders and gradually sending him out. He starts to get humpy and I move him sideways around the arena, or what we call 1/2 passing away from me. He is getting real good at this. I do that because it is hard for him to move like that and it calms him down so that when I ask him to go forward he won't be so tempted to take off fast and buck. He I also want to do this because it is a good ground exercise to control his movements. It works to calm him down.
I began the session today with just moving him around going through all the exercises he knows and working on getting them better. I want them all to be soft and with energy. So we worked for 1/2 an hour on the ground, got him saddled and the rest of the time in the saddle.
Mounted I wanted to work on softness at the walk, maintaining softness through the transition to a trot. He carries his head high and his back is hollowed out, ie. u-shaped. So we want him collected/soft and his back in an upside down u-shape, rounded. This is the balanced way to move, like an athlete lifting weights with proper form.
Thus, we got him soft at the walk, then the trot. He is carrying himself better at this. I then broke off from that and started to work on getting the reins better connected to his feet, so that when I lift the rein in a certain way a particular foot moves in the correct direction, for say, a disengagement. We did this on both sides the went back to moving out in a walk trot walk sequence trying to hold shape and softness. He did well. I got him in a good canter and started to try to get him soft, but he has carried himself so long all hollowed out, try as I did, I couldn't get him to be soft. It is going to take alot more work at this gait to get that. So we will keep working on this from walk and trot and then move to a canter. He will get it, but it is going to take some time and to retrain his brain and muscle memory. The one thing I do like about him is that he always goes into the correct lead.
Positive things are going on with him. I have good forward movement, he willingly gives me softness, he disengages, is starting to learn the counterturn, has a pretty good stop and backup. We still have to work on 1/2 pass and leg yield, although we have done some work on that.
He still has the issue of not liking the saddle, but we have figured out it is a back and girth issue, not an obstinate, stubborn attitude issue.
Til next time.