Today, I put Gemini on the 22' and headed out for a walk down the road. We did lots of circle game, sideways, backup and falling leaf. He wasn't nervous or worried to leave the barn and he was extremely responsive! I went to my neighbor's for a quick chat and tied him off. He was ok until he couldn't see me anymore, then he whinnied a few times. My neighbor has cows and he was tied pretty close to them. It was obvious they were a mystery to him.
Once I came back into sight, he calmed right down and was happy to have me close by. He's just that kind of horse - not confident alone. He needs buddies. Over time, he'll get more confidence as I spend more time teaching him that he's ok. He's just acting like a prey animal and he doesn't have calmer, braver, smarter down yet. I really enjoyed him, though. We stopped for lots of grazing time and worked on floating circle game. He was happy to be out and willing as hell.
Then, I tacked up Z and we went back out to our obstacle course. We cantered our best circles ever!! We played bulls-eye, corners game, did lots of squeeze over 18" - until it was a non-issue for her and me. She refused the jump just a couple times but after many jumps, I could feel her getting comfortable and gliding over the jump with ease. It was a great session for increasing her jumping confidence and next session we'll go for the barrels. I wanted to move to the barrels in this session, but I held back as we had found the perfect place to quit with the 18" jump. It was a smart move and it took some work from me to not forget ahead. It'll pay off, I know.
Our circles were awesome. She really has the idea now of the circle. We gently trotted some circles and we easily cantered nice circles. They were the nicest circles I've ridden on Z. We used the bullseye technique and I put a treat on the barrel in the middle to up the ante some. She is pretty barrel sweet now, very useful for a good circle.
Tomorrow I'll get Rain on the trail and pony Cowboy. Rain will probably be my CTR horse in a couple weeks and I want her as fit as possible. Cowboy just needs to get moving.
A great day!