It's been a dark, raw November day, with light drizzle on and off and a sharp wind. The temperature made it to about 45F, but with the wind it felt more like 40. Not the most pleasant day for a ride, but it's what we had.
Before I got on, our fence contractor arrived and delivered a piece of equipment he needs for his work - Pie got to watch the equipment unchained from the flatbed and driven off - he wasn't too worried about it. My first job after grooming was was to adjust his sidepull so it fit properly - the video in the previous post was very helpful. The only trouble I had was that the jowl strap barely fit since his jowls are so deep - I had to punch another hole close to the end of the strap to make it fit. At some point I may send the sidepull back to the company to have a longer strap fitted. Here's how it ended up looking (you can compare to the incorrect fit I showed in the first picture in this post):
First we did a very short trail loop - Pie was somewhat sticky away from home and required some slowing down towards home, but he was very good overall although not particularly relaxed - he was very focussed on where the barn was.
Then we went into the arena. We did a lot of small looped serpentines and small circles - he would keep looking towards the other horses and try to turn that way, but responded and did what I asked. We did a bit of backing, but didn't do much other softening work since he wasn't very relaxed. Instead we did a "four cones" exercise that we'd set up before I got on. I had four cones arranged in a large square. We walked purposefully - marching is the word that comes to mind - from cone to cone - I tried to think of us being pulled along the line between my eyes and the cone - and then circled tightly around the cone (I went back to his neck-reining since that's what's most familiar to him) and went to another cone and repeated. Pretty soon his head and neck started to drop a little and he was able to start focussing. It really ended up quite well - I could have moved up to a trot but decided to stop on the good note we'd reached. His straight lines were very good and his turns around the cones were small and precise. He's done some barrel work and seemed to find the exercise very soothing, even better than the small circles and serpentines. He's a horse that needs to feel he's doing a job, I think.