I indicated on my personal info sheet that I was really focused on getting more athleticism from my horse and being a better rider. I let him know that I wasn't doing much freestyle riding lately, more focused on finesse and dressage. He made a point of helping me improve and I was quite thrilled!
Gem warmed on the ground beautifully. We had a good connection and could have played at liberty as the line was always slack. Once on his back (I chose to ride western on day 1), things went just as well. David helped me understand how to ask Gem to be more naturally collected by letting him know I wanted his head lower and his back more rounded, and then helping him learn to travel that way on his own. That was incredibly cool and I had some great, great moments on Gem the first day.
I sometimes felt like I wanted more to work on under his tutelage, as this group has wide varieties of skill levels and we don't seem to do things as a big group very much. I asked David a couple of times to give me more to work on and he obliged. We played with getting more of a collected posture from the ground and I found that to be an interesting challenge.
At the end of the day, I played for about 30 minutes with Tammy's new horse Bently. A gorgeous warmblood gelding, he doesn't have great ground manners and Tammy wanted to see him improve his appreciation for his human's space. A very nice horse, he responded positively and got with the program immediately. I enjoyed playing with this horse for the first time.
Gem did an amazing job as my level-headed and responsive partner on day 1 and I got to stretch my horsemanship and riding. Loved it!