Had an amazing time with Gem today. He was so good! We played with sideways, circle with a lot of nice allowing. I asked him to squeeze over some jumps and we played with more rocksliding. Then, I took him in the arena and we did more sideways on the rail, asking for more energy. We then did some figure 8's on the ground and he was really understanding it.
I had tacked him up and brushed him before I got started on the ground work and Gemini just seemed so calm and willing. I checked his feet and picked them out. He's just doing so great. I played with moving forward and backward with my back towards him and asking him to maintain the distance between us. At first, his Z5 would swing out, but after a few times, he got my drift and went straight forward and backward with me. Nice!
Then, I worked with asking him to canter the circle and maintain the canter. That's an area where we really need to develop. He doesn't want to put that much effort in and I have to convince him that there's no rest until I give him rest. So, when he transitioned down, I asked him right back into the canter. Once he gave me a 1/2 lap or so at the canter, I brought him in. That worked nicely as he was cantering full circles after a few minutes of me working it that way.
Finally, I mounted and worked more on lateral flexion and getting him quiet in the mouth. He's very chompy on his bit and fiddling constantly. His brain is running when his feet are still - seems that when his mouth has to move the most. So, once my ankle is better, I work on getting his feet moving so his mouth can be still. :-)
I got off, did a little more sideways and some squeeze between me and fence. Surprisingly, he hurried through the squeeze. I did it a few more times until he could go calmly through the squeeze. Interesting. I also had him circle over the cavaletti's just a couple times before going to the barn. He was so graceful and never clunked a hoof on a cavaletti. Not once.
I tied him off, took of the tack, and let him stand for about 30 mins. He's doing really, quite well. So pleased!