Yesterday, our first day sans shoes, was a good ride. I put the boots on, just in case. We went out to the outdoor and started lunging to the left. No problems, relaxed head, nice even circle, not fussing, all three gaits without a flub.....Then I tried to switch directions and chaos ensued. He's done this before, but not to this extent. I switched the line to his other side and backed away to tell him to walk on. He swung his ass around and tried to go back to the right. I stopped him, regrouped and tried again...and again...and again....then he began to just back away from me as I tried to send him forward to the right. Then he took off away from me in a straight line zipping the line through my hands. I wear gloves now :)because I have learned this lesson. Frustration was mounting in both of us and by this time the next lesson class had come in and since there's still a nice muddy swamp on the lower end of the arena, space is at a premium. I FINALLY got him to go to the right calmly like nothing at all was amiss... weirdo. I made him continue a few revolutions and then stopped him and praised him. The class needed the room so I headed off to the dusty indoor. One rider in the indoor doesn't make too much of a cloud, and I don't mind the solitude. He only misstepped once at the lope/lunge so I we feeling good about the lack of shoes. I mounted and we did our usual routine, laps, circles, serpentines, stops, yields. No real issues. Loped on his "bad" side first to get it out of the way. Not too bad, a little rushing which makes me think he needs more muscle on that side...but what do I know? He eased up when asked and we had a few false starts on the wrong lead. After a few laps I asked him to try the transition a few more times and each time was better. Then more jogging and bending. Then a lope on his "good" side. Nice. Easy. Fun! Some more bends to cool down.
I do adore him.
I put him up and told him I'd come tomorrow..it's "tomorrow" now and I need to spend my day prepping a lecture for tomorrow. But I don't think he can speak English so he won't know the difference. I'll get out there Fri Sat Sun, and Mon. He can take a day off.
I re-roached his mane. In hindsight I should've bought a better clipper if I intend to keep him roached. He started looking like a mule, though so I couldn't help myself. I should've bathed him first, but I'll do that this weekend and actually be able to wash his scalp. Supposed to be beautiful out!