I spent some undemanding time with Z, working and paying bills outside her stall. I locked her in the stall with so she'd be near me while I worked.
Then, I went for Cowboy. I needed to trim his hooves. Steve helped me out! (Poor guy) Then, I brushed him and tacked him up. We started with put your nose on it, some squeeze, some sideways w/o a fence, then "mirror me" at the walk, trot and canter. I practiced his down transitions from my body versus my stick or rope wiggling. It was a nice warm up and I was ready to get on in about 10 mins.
We rode around doing tit for tat in the play area. I'm really trying to soften him up in the rope halter. I had him wear a bridle the whole time, but I talked to him with the rope hack. We worked on lateral flexion - which really causes him stress. I'm not sure why it so hard for him, but I want him to learn to relax in that position. He thought going back to the barn was a good idea, so I just asked him to canter to the barn and then we'd immediately go back out near the round pen.
He started to soften up and I decided to take him into the arena for pushing passenger. We did 20-30 mins at the trot. I was looking for him to leave the rail facing the barn and when he did, I rewarded him with rest. We practiced back up and getting that softer as well.
At one point, we tried to move dogs and he went to cuttin'! I was shocked! He knows how to cut.
Had a great day with Cowboy. I really like him.