Last night was a decent ride for Ashke and myself. The wind was blowing the snow sideways into the walls of the arena, it was cold and Ashke was feeling pretty good. I lunged him first and let him get it out of his system. He trotted and cantered in both directions until he was warm and steamy. Then I got on him.
His walk was quick and smooth. I can feel him really stretch out and move at the walk.
His trot was better, but he is still struggling. After trying to ride the English way, I gathered the reins in one hand and tried riding him in a western style. He sped up a couple of times, but overall, he maintained a comfortable trot. He seems to enjoy it more when there is less pressure on his mouth. It may be that because he is so sensitive, training him to ride on a looser rein than an English rider would use will be more effective. He did settle into a nice, smooth trot without throwing his head up or jerking against the reins. And his head wasn't too high. He does like to carry it higher than most English or Western riders, although it's not as high as the Morgan horse, Unforgettable, carries his. (I think he goes saddleseat.)
We also worked on the canter up and down the center of the arena. I worked on doing a western rollback. We would canter, stop, back and then spin on his haunches and launch immediately into a canter back down the arena. Ashke did really well. It was harder for him to spin to the left, however, because he has to push off on his right hind leg. We only did it a half dozen times, because I could feel him getting tired. Then we stood still in the center of the arena and learned to turn on the hindquarters while we watched Cali and Nicole.
I worked him for almost an hour and a half before I packed him up and headed home. I was pretty happy with our progress and it will give us something to work on going forward, instead of the incessant circles. I want to see about making some bending poles and leaving them at the barn so we can start working on some of the patterns for working equitation. The turning and bending should help with his rehab.