The title sums it all up in a nutshell. Yesterday was Gringo's first "training lesson" in over umm 5 years, if I'm not mistaken. And he was a very good boy.
We ended up starting off with some basic w/t/c on the lunge, no side reins. Gringo was his typical self in doing this, really not caring one bit about the whole ordeal. We were not able to manage to get the left lead canter when we first started out ... but I think that had a lot to do with him being unbalanced.
Switching to the right, he was a bit better, but more unbalanced (still managed to get the correct canter lead though). Once the side reins were added though, it became apparent that we needed to adjust the side reins. So, the right inside side rein was shortened by two holes ... we left the outside side rein alone. With just that little bit of shortening, Gringo was able to flex and bend and become a little bit softer to the bridle. We had some REALLY NICE trot steps. Very lofty. So much in fact, that he was over-reaching and nicking himself. I guess I need to dig out some bell boots/splint boots to help protect his legs.
When we switched back to the left rein again, the only adjustment I needed to make was to his right side rein. We ended up moving it back out two holes to where it was previously. Going to the left, we worked on getting him to left his front shoulder (left front) and sit a bit longer on his hind legs. This will help him from pounding that bad leg (left front) into the ground.
It's truly amazing how a lunge whip can really get a point across. With Gus, it's like you need to beat him to get anything accomplished (he's that bad with regards to forward movement ... his ideal world is revolved around eating and standing around). Gringo's definitely different in that case. All I needed to do was pickup the whip and point it at his hind end and boy did it start moving out. He easily started tracking up when the whip was pointed at him. It also helped to point the whip at his front end ... and wiggle it a bit. That in combination with "half halts", we got him to lift his front end just enough so that he had to sit more on his haunches. Success!
With side reins on, and going to the left, we did manage to get a few nice left lead canters. However, he did end up falling apart and breaking to a trot nearly every time he approached the end of a 20m circle. We did manage one full circle before we called it quits.
After the lunging work, we started on ground driving/long lining. I haven't attempted this since before Gringo left the barn the first time. So we started off really simple. I was at Gringo's head with a lead, and B was working the long reins.
First she was off to his near side, just a bit past his surcingle. Eventually she was off his off side, same distance. Then she was behind him. He got really nervous when he couldn't see B anymore, especially once I was out of the equation.
The two of them managed to do quite a few laps of the arena, in both directions, without too much fuss. It's definitely something Gringo does not enjoy, but like with everything else, I do believe he'll become much better once time progresses and he becomes more comfortable.
Gus, well, Gus was a bit neglected last night. He managed to sneak two apples out of me and got some nice pats. Nothing else. The plan is to work with Gus (and Gringo) Friday after work. Gus will be outfitted in full lunge gear ... then maybe I'll hop on for a quick walk ride. Gringo will get lunged again as well, or that's the plan, at least.