So riding wise, with the exception of a little fight over the right lead canter (my fault), Soon was legitimately amazing tonight undersaddle. He just keeps improving with every ride as he understands more and his muscles start to develop. He is getting softer, rounder, and pushing more from behind. The coolest feeling is pushing him off that inside leg and feeling him soften immediately. His outline is getting steadier at the walk and working trot. His stretch trot is also improving, and he really seems to enjoy that part of the ride.
We did more trot poles tonight and some raised cavaletti. He was very good over all of them. He even cantered quietly over some canter poles I had set up. No big deal. Unfortunately, he's still not picking up the right lead very well, and I'm having a hard time sorting out what's working for him in regards to cues. He got a little flustered and then tried to run through my outside rein, which got him a rude wake up call and a round of our cowboy lateral flexion exercises. Then we stood and chilled out for a minute, did some trotting work, and tried again a couple of times. We did eventually get it figured out, and he did do some good right lead canter, but I need to work on strengthening him more on that side before we start drilling transitions. I think I might introduce him to some side reins this week (very loose to start out with), and let him figure out this right lead canter business without me getting in the way or getting him spun up.
I was practically kicking him around at the trot tonight to get the forward momentum I wanted, but after the canter transition episode, he actually felt like he had a little blood (read: he was excited!). We did some stretchy trot both ways afterward to calm down, and he was back to normal. But between me being disappointed with myself and him running me over outside to get away from the bugs (that did not impress me)...today was not our best day. The bright side of it all was that he did show some real improvement during the ride, and it's best to focus on those moments and not the ones where I feel like beating myself with my crop. He's still a super sweet boy (who really hates bugs) and is trying like crazy. I love my man. :)