Got back to town late last evening. I went to the barn this afternoon and caught Jr right before a meal. Got him tied before the food guy came, though so I didn't have to wait to ride. KAT had ridden him that day already so I thought I'd just do an easy session. My neck is stiff from being WAY too brave and sledding down some hard, bumpy hills with my nephew on Sunday. He was very different. He was VERY grumpy and was not much fun to start out with. I was riding him in a different bridle with super long thick, stiff reins (he's into a broken-mouth shanked bit now) and the reins were clumsy in my hands. He was VERY distracted by the other horses (I assume that he was alone in the arena when he was in training) and was snorty and agitated. BUT if I made him halt he just stood and watched. I suppose it was a combo of taking him away from his feed and being in a busy arena for the first time in 2 weeks. He quit the crap eventually, but only after he threw a buck when I asked him to lope! I definitely saw a positive difference in him, though. He's jogging MUCH slower and his lope was slow and comfortable. He did try to speed up when he got distracted, but I was generally able to keep him in check. Of course I'm not as in tune with him as KAT is so I don't correct him as soon as I should, but that's just the way it is. I'm an amateur and I have to accept that. I WISH I was a professional. I still wonder what my life would be like if I had gone to school for horses instead. He had one BIG stumble the last time I loped him but he kept himself up. KAT was watching and said he hadn't stumbled at all while I was gone. Nice confirmation that the problem is ME. I'm sure it's my balance and that'll come with time. Not sure when we're starting my group lessons back up again, next week or the week after I think. I'm going to try to fit a private lesson in soon so I can have some one-on-one time with KAT while we work into the new bit.
His blanket was off when I got there, probably because KAT rode him and the temp was in the low 40's. I could see there was some we sweat marks on his blanket so I left it off. Hopefully he won't freeze or maybe KAT will put it on before she leaves for the night since she's the one who took it off? I'm sure he'll be fine.
I'm going out in the morning to hopefully have some alone time in the arena to try out his new buttons.