Try has come up with a fun new game for me. One thing about Try is he is very smart, too smart for his own good sometimes. He likes to spice things up a bit and develop new, not so fun habits to keep me on my toes. About a month ago his new fun habit was swinging himself towards the wall not leaving me much space on the left side (coincidentally the tacking side) and refusing to move over when instructed. I sought council from the all knowing R who suggested just poking him in the sensitive belly area with one finger, rather then trying to push him over, which only caused him to push back. After a day or two this was successful and he never tried it again.
We have been new habit free since then until last week. His latest fun new habit is trying to attack me when walking to / standing at the mounting block. He has always been an occasional nipper, but this was much more then that. When I walk him into the ring, we walk a small circle to un-bloat him and stop a few feet from the mounting block to tighten the girth. Then I walk him to the block, line him up, put the reins over his head, and mount. His new thing was he would try a nip or two in the beginning then from the time I tightened the girth to the time I mounted he would continuously try to come at me with his teeth, in much harsher manner than the occasional nip he has done in the past. His owner and I discussed the fact that we must put an end to this immediately so of course I went to R.
R's suggestion was to treat it like an in hand class and be very consistent. She said that every time he tried to bite me I should immediately back him up 3 or 4 steps. This was an option his owner and I had discussed, but he used to be bad about standing at the mounting block and if he scooted around too much at the block we would go and back him up, try again, etc. This was why I was not sure if I should do this for the biting at the block because I did not want to cause him any confusion. Once R confirmed this was a good plan I put it to work.
The first time I did it, I started immediately from the first little nip, so by the time we got to the block he got the picture and I would say showed definite progress. I did it again on my last ride yesterday and he did not try to go after me at the block at all, so hopefully we have put this new game to rest.
As far as riding, he has been a dream. No matter what stupid stunts he pulls on the ground, he has been consistently great under saddle. We have been doing a lot of work on his collected canter, with his head down and on the bit and he has been doing it beautifully! We have also been practicing his slow jog with his head nice and low, which is also one of his best things. I have also been doing a lot of circle work at the jog and lope, as well as, a lot of pattern work. Since he is so smart, I have to change it up and do different and challenging things to keep him entertained, so pattern work is great for him. We have also been doing some work on his turns on the haunches and to the right he is perfect, but to the left needs a little work.