I got home from work, got changed, and grabbed Harley. Then, I had a decision to make. Was it back to the arena for focused concentration, or a wandering down the road kinda day?
I chose the second. He hadn't worked in a few days, so I figured we'd start in the yard, and if he longed pretty, stopped nice, minded well, then I'd push him a few steps farther down the road than he may want to go (just beyond comfortable, in the event he got nervous), and aim to get as far as the third driveway away.
Longed beautifully, after a few speedy boogers escaped from his legs. Began responding to a verbal, "Whoa" without fuss.
Added the bridle, my helmet, set the phone on "SHH.. you're just there in case I splAt", and hopped on.
He didn't move. Still as a statue, until I changed my body language to "forward". Started to walk on, ears pricked up, head down relaxed. I didn't even pause in the yard, but headed straight down the road, forcing myself to relax, and not get jittery about anything.
After a mild request to turn back home, he gave in, and gave me the most mellow, relaxed walk I could've hoped for. Absolutely, entirely, relaxed. No break to trot, no turning sharp to head on home, just relaxed.
I got as far as I wanted to go, without even one hesitation. He did not want to walk in a straight line, and insisted a few times on either running my head into trees overtop, or stumbling on the rocks on the road. Finally, after a few harsh trips, and a swoosh of branches along my sleeve, Harley realized that where I was putting him was a safe place to be.
The total walk was about 15 minutes. When we turned for home, he didn't try to rush, he stayed the same steady-eddy speed we'd left home with. It was an absolutely delightful walk down the road, with zero uhoh's or spooked incidents. Outstanding!
not bad for a 4yr old, eh?