Tonight I found out a couple things:
1) Miles hearts Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle. Rode with it briefly today, and we both love it. More details and pics to come.
2) Miles also hearts mares, and spring, and occasionally acting like the stereotypical OTTB. He was a feisty thing tonight! Our adventure started with 2 lovely mares in the barn, who had his full attention, wink wink nudge nudge.
I then took him to the arena, where the ice continues to sliiiiide off the roof intermittently and CRASH to the ground. I lunged Mr. Fresh and Horny in scary corners and over little verticals, where he continues to improve his skills at the trot and canter (argh, pictures, video, I know!).
I'm kinda proud of myself at how I handled Mr. Happy Go Lucky tonight. I don't know if it was his previous handling (I think, and I hope so), or if it was me, but every time he spooked or got a little fresh on the lunge, he proceeded to throw his head up reflexively, as if expecting a good yank. I've noticed this behavior on the lead line as well at times. Tonight, the lunge was soft between us, and I felt him start to relax more and more as he realized he was allowed to freak out, within reason, as long as he respected me and stayed on the circle. He did so well, on both counts.
I haven't lunged him in anything but his halter with a sheepskin noseband for months now, and I've NEVER disciplined him for spooking (which honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times he's spooked on the lunge). Still, in the beginning, I did lunge him in a rope halter, which is a bit more severe. He's so, so, SO much better at lunging now that there is rarely a time when the line is taught between us, but it wasn't always so. Regardless of the reason for his head tossing, we really worked together tonight, and he saw that I wasn't going to punish him for silliness. By the time I got on him (really, just to walk and cool him out at that point) he was a bit tired, yes, but his eye was soft and I just *felt* something passing between the two of us.
It was nice:) So nice I totally forgot about the camera in my pocket I brought along in order to update the blog with some long overdue pictures GrumbleGrumbleGrumble.
Ah, well, you can't have everything I guess. Still, I'll take what we had tonight every single time.