Hooray! Louie got his right lead 3 out of 5 times today! And it is actually better than that- He got it both of the first 2 times I asked him for it, but on the second, he quit on me before I asked him to. So I cued him again and that's when he got the left twice, then got the right lead once again to finish! It wasn't the most pretty thing in the world- he seems really unbalanced on that side, as he really has to rock his body and move his neck a lot to get enough impulsion to stay in it, but hey- at least he is getting it! His left lead has been beautiful- smooth and controlled, and he's pretty steady with his head. I don't know if he just needs more work on the right, or stretching, or growing, or a chiro adjustment or what, but I figure the left lead is more important for the show ring anyhow as that is the first way and impressions are still being made at that point. He isn't bucking or kicking or anything anymore, and seems to be doing it quite willingly now that he's figuring out that's what I want (he got it 2/5 times earlier this week when I rode him), so I'll just go with it and hopefully it will get better with time.
Earlier, we also worked on a lot of figure 8's and circles at the trot today (and walk-trot-walk transitions). We would do figure 8's and most of the time I'd do an extra circle or 2 or 3 on one of the parts of the 8 before going the other way. He does tend to anticipate my next move, so we trot in kindof a funny shaped circle sometimes, but really he did quite well by the end. I think this is a good suppling exercise and a good exercise in listening and not anticipating. I was also able to do this with quite a nice headset (nicely flexed) and almost no rein contact whatsoever. There were many moments when I basically just gave him his face completely and he went along perfectly. Since sometimes I find myself pulling quite hard (okay this is a relative term, I have very soft hands compared to most others) on the reins to get what I'm asking for, it was good to be consious of that in this exercise today.
Overall I was very happy with my horsie today. :) He is such a smarty pants- and he is turning out to be a very calm, well mannered, and good thinking horse, which I am absolutely thrilled about. I love my horse!