Drifter made significant progress today both in the herd and in his work. He was still guarding the fence line in the morning and keeping any gelding who approached away from "his" mares, but he was much less aggressive about it. Here's a picture of him with his "best girl" Dawn:
Poor Fritz really wanted to be friends with Drifter, but got driven away any time he got close.
When the geldings went out to pasture, Drifter momentarily got left behind, but galloped after the others. He did haunt the fence line closest to the mares, but they were a long way away - more than 50 yards, and basically ignored him. At bring in time, he was at the gate closest to the mares, seeing if he could push it down with his chest - he almost succeeded - we may need to tie it with lead ropes to secure it, at last for the next several days.
But overall, he was much less agitated in the pasture and enjoyed some time out grazing. All the other geldings managed to roll in the muddy puddle in the pasture - Pie was plastered with half dry mud when he came in.
Drifter led much better coming in from the pasture. I put him briefly in his stall to chill while I put out our gear in the arena. When I took him out to the arena, I only had to do a little free lungeing before he was ready to work and came in to me. We did some leading work around the cones, groomed and tacked, and then he had to deal with the horses coming in from pasture. We did a bit of lungeing, but he was quite attentive to me and we didn't need to do that for long. Then we bridled and did a little in-hand work - turns on the forehand and backing - when both Charisma and Sugar came into the arena - mares in heat! He was extremely well-behaved, even for Sugar trotting and cantering and Charisma lungeing. And then Sugar left on a trail ride - he had to watch her vanish into the distance - we did some more leading work to distract him.
Then I mounted up and had a great ride. We worked on our figures with the cones, and the bracing and rushing at the walk were pretty much gone - very good considering the distractions. Then we did a bit of trot work, with transitions to walk after each short trot line. He's still bracey at the trot, but I now think that'll be pretty easy to undo with some turns. His backing was just beautiful. I was delighted with him, and told him so and untacked and took him in for dinner. Our p.m. barn lady texted me later that he was excellent leading out to the paddock for the night (Pie's opposite).
In thinking about it, considering he was in isolation up to a few days ago, the introduction to the gelding herd was almost like coming to a new barn and it's not surprising that he was agitated. He seems to be starting to calm down, and the more I work with him the more he reminds me of my old boy Noble, who was also nervous and very interested in mares. Of course Drifter is himself, with his own unique personality, but if he turns out to be like Noble, I will indeed be fortunate, and I think there's a good possibility that's what he's going to be like in terms of his willingness to work and responsiveness.