Today Kai turned to face me when he saw me in the paddock but did not come over the ditch to catch me. However he sweetly came to greet me once I crossed. As I was haltering him both of us noticed that there was something walking around just out of sight in the woods. The other horses didn't seem to notice so I guessed it was a deer. As we were walking to the gate I felt that Kai was going to be in a right brain mood today. I then brought him to the indoor arena and started to groom him. Kai fidgeted a little during the grooming but I put him back where he was every time he moved.
Next I set up a figure eight big enough for Kai to easily trot the pattern. I positioned him between the markers and asked him to yoyo backwards twenty feet and asked him to trot to the left. Kai went a little RBE and started trotting quickly around the markers. I smiled at him and waited for him to settle down. Kai settled down quickly and then he became playful. I brought my energy to match his and sent him with a playful attitude. Kai did a leap forward and then he did a very nice figure eight. I was so pleased with how light he was. I decided to do one more figure eight and then do sideways.
I asked him to trot again and Kai got emotional and tried to canter which made him very unbalanced. I made a split second decision to wait until he was ready to connect with me again. And then Kai stumbled and looked like he was about to go down on his knees but at the last moment he picked himself up and stopped and looked at me. I breathed out in relief and Kai mirrored me and breathed out also. I then sent him back on the pattern.
This time I was paying attention to his movement to make sure he didn't hurt himself. Luckily he was fine. He got fast again but this time it was because he wanted to, not because he was nervous so I bumped him on the nose. Then he did a lovely figure eight--he was ''bouncing off my bubble'' so nicely, his changes of direction were balanced, and he was not running away from me. I exhaled and brought him in.
After a quick break we started to play sideways game.
Kai has the tendency to run away from me instead of staying connected, especially the farther away he gets. I tested him out by sending him sideways both directions. He was way better on the left side and he would stay connected enough all the way out to come back towards me sideways. I decided to work on two things, one was for him to keep his nose in the wall until I asked him otherwise, and two, for us to have good ''brakes'' when I exhaled and became neutral.
We started close range and slowly built up distance to about twelve feet. On Kai's left side he could go out and stop when I relaxed and then come back sideways towards me. On his right side he could go out twelve feet and keep his nose in the wall. He didn't seem to understand coming sideways towards me to his right. I quit there praising him for his lovely efforts and decided to work on sideways towards on his right individually.
I first got his HQ yields very good on both sides and then I stood on a bucket to make myself taller so that I could reach over his back and ask his hip to move. Kai kept moving into the pressure and would turn to face me instead of stepping over. It got to the point that he would turn his bum all the way around. I leaned over and asked him to yield his HQ back to where they were. I slowly increased the pressure and I bumped him with the stick. This repeated once more and I decided to try something new. I again stepped of the bucket and asked him to yield his HQ around. I then stepped back on the bucket, positioned him almost parallel to myself to set him up for success and leaned as far as I could over him so that I could reach his bum better and slowly started to bump his bubble ever so slightly.
I gave him lots of time to think it through. And Kai stepped over. I got down and showered him with praise. I waited for him to lick and chew and then I asked him again so that he could solidify his understanding of the lesson. When he did I gave him a scratch and ended the session.