Kota is moving along spectacularly in his training though I really wish I could have another 30 days to solidify some things because time is moving really fast right now. On Friday Kota went on his first trail ride with me and was awesome. He even kept a correct trot for about a minute all on his own, a huge improvement for him. He wasn't spooky at the flapping flag, the kids playing basketball nor even the other kids playing volleyball. He was well mannered, listened to leg cues and didn't give any trouble.
Last night we worked on leg commands more, introducing the turn on the forehand as well as a half-pass. The turn on the forehand was difficult for him to grasp during the last ride so I rode in spurs which made a big difference. He was very confused about what to do and it certainly took longer for him to "get it" then the turn on the haunches but in the end he figured it out. At the end of the ride I could get him to move all 4 quarters independently of each other and without using spurs. Success!! The half pass isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds as he seemed to understand it pretty quickly after figuring out "move haunches". We were able to do a half pass from the rail into the quarter line each direction so I called that part good for the day.
We then worked on the dreaded...CANTER. He has a right lead canter but when I cantered before he refused to offer a left lead canter. No worries though as I was on a mission to try to get both. His canter feels like he is 95% on his front end, has no balance and he has virtually no steering, you just power along and hope walls or horses don't get in your way. I am trying to also teach him a canter cue, inside leg on/outside leg back, at the same time as I am running out of time, I am only hoping he gets it before time is up. We started with his right lead canter and I was able to get him into a circle by pushing him into the reins for balance or really pulling into the correct direction couple of times. Once he understood circle I tried to get him to balance a little and he finally offered me a stride and a half of balanced canter. Wahoo! Big steps for him, he even offered it a couple more times despite not keeping it for more than two strides.
With the success of the right lead, I figured I would try the left lead, we got the right lead. We tried again, and got the same result. I tried a circle without success and then tried a sharp turn to force him to push off with the correct lead and voila, he gave a flying change and the left lead introduced itself. The left lead is just as bad as the right but in the end he gave me a single stride of semi-balanced canter and was halfway decent with steering. I didn't push the canter much as this is only the third time we have cantered and I know he isn't strong enough to carry himself but it is nice to know he is willing to try a new way.
Only a couple of weeks left and I am gone for 4 days of it. Have a lot of riding to get done, time for someone to get some serious learn on.