It's a "you know it had to happen" update. =) And, no, he hasn't unseated me.. yet..
R was busy working late, so after a little Romeo western in the pasture (which I'll bury in here sometime this week), I gathered Ransom and his hunter parts. I added side reins, and a lunge line to our tote package, and headed to the arena.
With poles & a crossrail set up towards the front, I set him on the line in the back of the arena. He trotted & cantered on the line all well & pretty. Since he was leaning and heavy Thursday, I lunged him a while on side reins. At first, as expected, he had his head up, trying to avoid work. Then he tried to be lazy strided, and amble along skipping forward movement. After about fifteen minutes' work, I had him back light on the bit, moving along forward on the line. Nice!
Following the lunge work, I set the X down to four trot poles, so I wouldn't be tempted to fly solo. Ransom and I worked on canter at two point, and I felt him stretch out in his stride as I opened up my shoulders. His canter certainly gets bigger & more forward up in two point, and it feels good. It's nice & smooth sunk down in my heels.
We trotted the poles in tandem and after some direction changes, skipping one set every now & then. On one of our last double-sets, he absolutely tripped, and wiped out just before the poles. I'd say two trot strides out, he was two foot closer to the dirt in front. Splat! I held myself up, caught him, and pushed him through the poles. He fumbled through them. Glad that was over, my heart started racing. I kept him in trot, and for a split second, thought, "I'm gonna skip the other four, and come back to this line again."
And then, in another second, I realized, "That teaches him splat good, and lets my chicken-sh!t fear win! I can't get in the habit of quitting skeered. I'm going to keep going." I made a long deep turn in the corner, and headed right to the next trot line.
Hop Hop Hop Hop. Ransom trotted over the second four like they were almost not even there, no stumble, no trip, no ugly head, no pulling, tugging, or chasing. We circled at trot after the line, and relaxed to a walk.
He seemed satisfied with himself. I was certainly happy I didn't let the chicken monster eat my courage, and I forced myself to keep the plan. We worked on some more canter at two point before quieting down to a walk, and a nice cool down.
Total ride, about an hour.