Gathered up Ransom after work, and decided a solid side-rein lunge was in order. Surcingle, side reins, french link bit, polo wraps up front, and here we go!
Free lunged both ways on the line for about 5, then set up bridle & side reins. He leaned with his head out & up quite a bit all three gaits, which I sort of expected - he hasn't had to "use himself hard" for about a month. I expected a bit of fuss & fight.
After about 25 minutes, I took the side reins back off again, and let him stretch out at walk & trot each direction.
Getting back in shape... Plenty to think about & start planning as the February HorseMaster taping is approaching. I know they say "Don't work on the problems", and that'll be easy. The hard part? Getting him clean, my tack clean, my clothes organized, boots polished, and all my mental "ducks in a row", so I'm not a nervous-nelly for the event.