Just wanted to give you an update on Val. We are now riding. YEA! We had been lunging and ground driving him for a couple of weeks. Then Jenny, our trainer, said I should go saddle shopping because he was almost ready. So this week on Tuesday she lunged him first. Then she pulled him up to the fence, stood on the fence, and leaned on him. He stood like a rock. Then she took him out into the middle of the arena, put one foot in the stirrup and leaned across his back. Still stood like a rock. In fact she tried to get him to move and he wouldn't until she was all the way up in the saddle correctly. It's so funny because getting him to stand still when we first started to work with him on the ground was impossible. He would dance all over the place. But when you're on his back, he's rock solid. Even for me when I'm mounting from the ground (which I don't do very well - short legs, no jumping ability, etc.)
Anyway then she had me hold onto one rein. She was nervous that he would try to bolt. But not my boy. She practiced turning, stopping, and backing up and he was fine. The next night she tried to see if she could get him to jog. He was o.k. but he thinks if you want him to go faster, you want really faster. Then I got up and just walked him around, turned, stopped, backed.
Last night she tried to teach him that pulling back didn't necessarily mean going down to a walk or stopping, that it just meant slowing the gait he was doing. He still hasn't gotten that yet. Then she did some work to get him to give to pressure he was leaning into it instead. So when I got up, I worked on giving him leg signals as well as reins. He did fairly well. He tries so hard to please even though sometimes he's still not sure what you what. I cannot tell you what a good boy he really is.
Now if he would just let me bridle him. That is the one huge battle we are currently having. Roseann suggested a side pull. I'm open to anything he is so good about most things that this is obviously a big problem for him. So I'm willing to go with something that he is comfortable with.
I haven't forgotten your pictures. I still haven't gotten him all cleaned up. For one thing, he doesn't like standing on cement which most of the wash stations are. But there is one up in the front which was rock underneath and a rail all the way around. And surprisingly he didn't seem to have any objections to that when Jenny and I tried putting him into it once. And I finally got some of the blue shampoo. And he's letting me at least brush through his tail which had been a sore point. In fact, I brushed through it one day, then turned him out in one of the round pens. You should have seen him flag that tail and strut around. It was pretty hysterical. I'm out of town this weekend so I will try to get him washed and whitened the next weekend. Then I will take some pictures and send them to you.