Played with Bert tonight really paying attention to my energy and just how little or how much would cause him to walk or trot on a circle. I didn't care if he made complete circles or not, the only goal was to cause him to leave at a walk or trot by changing my energy.
It was very interesting to me, I thought I was asking very softly for Bert to walk on the circle and tried to keep everything light and soft. I did well with my body and my cues BUT...and this is a big BUT...my mind was on overdrive apparently because Bert kept leaving at a speedy, impulsive trot, nearly cantering. When I concentrated on calming my mind and just picturing what I wanted his departure to look like, amazingly...he left just as I pictured it...a nice, relaxed walk. Tonight was a valuable lesson on just how sensitive and attentive Bert is; I need to be careful of the mental messages/energy I'm sending down that line to him.
It looked (and sounded) like it might rain tonight so rather than ride, I decided to play online tonight. I'm happy to say that was the right decision because we had a fantastic play session tonight.
Played with sideways with and without the fence, along a log, over a log, away and towards me and wow...Renegade was paying attention, asking questions, putting in some effort and doing a good job of reading my body language and energy.
Played with driving him to objects from greater distances (about 18-19' of the 22' line) and again Renegade put effort into getting to the objects and reading my body language. This has been a major sticking point for us in the past but tonight it all clicked.
Split Renegade in half lengthwise over the log and it took all of about 45 seconds for him to figure it out...again, engaged, reading my body language, and responding to cues/phases.
Circling game was great at the end of the 22' line, was getting some nice upward transitions with just a lift it and lead it, no need for higher phases. He did break gait but oh boy...we got to practice change of direction. About two times of that and Renegade was maintaining gait and direction on the circle. Downward transitions were not quite as easy...so I wanted to leave it for another day.
Weave at the walk from about 17' of the 22' line went really well...again Renegade was reading my body language and putting effort into the pattern.
I'm VERY happy with our session tonigt!!!