It's magic. It's a miracle. It's the circle, done right.
Yesterday, Monkey was being a jerkoff right off the bat. I knew he would be, I didn't get him worked very well Sunday, and the wind was blowing like crazy.
I got on him before class to see how much of a jerkoff he was going to be. The answer was a big one.
So, we went to the round pen. I worked him pretty hard, to get all of the energy he was using to be a brat off so that he'd pay attention, and then we went back to the indoor arena in time to catch the beginning of class.
He behaved much better after that.
Since we'd reviewed the rules for National Reining Horse Association competitions yesterday morning in Eval, Marilyn decided to do some circles and stops. First we had circles, small circles at the lope to either direction with a simple lead change in between.
Monkey actually made round circles!! Without a huge fight! I was so proud. The only little snag we had was that he didn't want to get up into the lope on the second circle, and I had to whallop his sides.
By the time we did stops he had his second wind back again, we did a couple at the trot and a couple at the lope. Trotting... well, he kind of sucked. He hasn't learned to bring his back feet up underneath him on a stop from the trot. But he stopped fairly light, at least. The lope, he did pretty good on the first one, when I stopped him with both hands. The second one, I tried him one handed and he tried to peel off on me.
I'm trying to ride him neck-reined at least part of the time, for two reasons. I worked really hard to get him started on neck reining last semester and I've been neglecting it a bit this semester, and he's forgetting what he learned. And, because neck reining gives him looser reins, by definition, which will help soften his mouth up as he's not as heavy a contact all the time as with direct reining.
Mostly though, I'm just glad he decided to behave. Hopefully he got enough energy burned off yesterday that I won't have to work him before I ride today, but I've got more time between classes today, so I should be able to go out pretty early and get his stall stripped and re-bedded (I would have done it yesterday, but the shavings would have blown away before I could get them to the barn.) Then, if I'm still early, I can get him warmed up before class enough that I'll know if I need to round pen him or not.
I don't think he wants to make Mommy mad enough to get off again though. He never wins, I always make him do something properly before I get off, even to go to the round pen. But, he might be learning that being an utter brat when he knows better only gets him a lot more sweat than he would have had otherwise.
One can always hope, anyway.