I rode Ashke last night without warming him up in the round pen or the arena. I just tightened the girth and jumped on (okay, gingerly mounted him from the mounting block.) He was awesome. He didn't fuss or act up. He did shake his head at me a couple of times when we went by the open door leading out of the indoor arena, but it was mild protest at best.
I worked him at the walk, trot and canter in both directions. He relaxed, kept his poll down and neck flexed. He turned on the neck rein to the left easily and to the right with a little bit of help from the direct rein. He is beginning to roll back on his turn after a stop. And moving forward when turned in a circle. He backs with very little pressure, keeping his head down and tucking in his chin.
I am riding with a heavier snaffle bit, solid copper, with D ring sides. I had been riding with a thinner sweet iron bit with copper inlays. I didn't feel like we were getting enough slobber with the sweet iron and also didn't like how thin it was on the bars of his mouth. I was having some issues the first couple of times we rode with the new bit, because I felt like he was locking his jaw against it and pulling. I was having a hard time getting him to stop. Last night I focused on stilling my body and sitting back when asking him to stop, rather than relying on the bit to stop him. It took him twice - TWO TIMES - to figure out what I was asking him for. It wasn't a sliding stop by any means, but I don't need him to slide stop. I didn't ride for long, because I don't want him ring sour and there's only so much you can do in the indoor arena.
T wanted to ride, so he went up and down the arena with me leading him. Ashke was not amused. I think Ashke thinks he should only be ridden by me. At least that was the look on his face.