Day One started out with Soonie and I in a group of five (for green horses or riders), and Joey's favorite exercise is fan poles (read about it in this Chronicle of the Horse article) at the canter in the corner. The whole premise of the weekend was to work on lengthening and shortening of the horse's stride to help make them more rideable, and the fan poles at the canter is a great tool to help create a balanced, short canter to navigate tighter turns/rollbacks without losing the horse's inside shoulder, or allowing the horse to bulge through the outside shoulder. Rider must create and maintain a short canter with energy, while holding the inside rein closer in toward the neck/wither, and the outside rein out slightly to help balance. The trick is to ride the canter through the middle of the fan poles and on to whatever jumping question was next.
The near corner had three fan poles, the far opposite corner had two fan poles then four quiet strides to a vertical, and five quiet strides on a bending line to an oxer. It was Soon's first time over through that type of exercise, and he figured it out extremely fast. Soon was complimented for being a very smart and nice, quality horse (coming from a trainer like Joey with his experience, that's great to hear). Given that it can be difficult to get a lot of stuff done in a large group like that (with some pretty green combinations that kept things very simple), he invited us to do a private lesson the following morning so we could work on some additional things with Soon and challenge him a little more.
After each morning's session after he got cleaned up, while he was patient as ever, he was still eager to get turned out and be a horse, which makes me very happy. Good boy Soonie!