I forgot to post yesterday about Jacob so I will just include that with today's post, seeing as I did the same things. Jacob is getting real good at all the exercises. We went out both days and did the cruising and fence exercises and today he was much better, more relaxed and going in a straight line down the road. I even had him cantering. Today we did much more cantering and went farther (about 4 miles). We are almost ready to move on to the intermediate course which after looking over I already know he knows several of those exercises. I am real happy with what I am learning myself. I found there are some holes in my lessons, probably due to paying attention to Dennis Reis or Ken Mcnabb, they have different exercises as well. But combining them to some degree works well. I know we are making good progress.
If Jacob didn't know any of this stuff it would probably take a good week of hour and a half sessions to get him to start understanding the groundwork and another couple weeks to get him through the entire fundamentals course. And then it would take some time more of consistent daily work to get him real good at all the exercises.
Right now I am finding that when I try to back him up he wants to move off sideways so I have to keep his two eyes on me. Whenever he takes his eyes off me I just bump his head back. I usually ask him to move his butt first then if he still doesn't I bump his head. I also do alot of rubbing with the stick between his eyes. So today he has been much better at giving me two eyes. The other issue I have had with him is that he was kinda stiff on lateral flexion. Then I started using my thumb in front of the cinch when I asked him to flex, I would add the thumb and he would bend around. I have done that so much on both sides that he has made much improvement, to the point where I don't have to use the thumb as much. That translates to my foot when I am in he saddle with him. So on the way back I worked alot on lateral and vertical flexion and leg yields, even started getting haunches in and some sidepassing. Can't wait for the next session.