I took John for a walk around the farm today. The fields were muddy - he was still sinking three inches in the corn field, so as soon as we could - we got onto a farm road and didn't go back into the fields.
We were walking on a farm road down by the heifer barn and something scared John. He sat back on his haunches and went to spin (which is always followed by running - his favorite "I'm scared" reaction) and I calmly said, "John, No."
He stopped, turned back in the original direction and waited for my next cue. I think we are making progress! All of the groundwork this winter was helpful.
I also think he was pretty bored with his three months off. I spent most of the trail ride walking around on the buckle. A few times I let him trot (okay, he started and I didn't bring him right back to a walk).
We walked home on the road, to avoid the mud. All in all, it was a great ride on John.
After that, I took Secret out. She was more like riding a coiled spring. I was only going to ride in the driveway for fifteen minutes, but since there was that much horse underneath me, I decided to let her walk up the road to the field and back. If she had a purpose (rather than a circle), I figured she would behave better.
Secret had not been ridden since January 7th and didn't get the benefit of lunging. But she is making progress too. When I asked her to relax, she did. The lessons we were working on in January (no, don't race back to the barn; please put your head down) stuck with her and she responded a lot quicker when I asked. And taking her for a trail walk was a much better idea than asking her to walk circles.