Even whilst I poo-picked at tea-time the flies were relentless in their swarming, so hacking was out of the question. I had a brief, mad thought about loose-jumping him but it was too muggy for that to be a one-person job! I'd have ended up doing more work than Himself!
So schooling it was. Despite my not being in quite the cheeriest frame of mind for it, he went so sweetly. That's always the way I guess, low expectations = no pressure!
I really wasn't expecting much when I had to drag him into the school, he was feeling the heat as much as I was. I figured if we mooched around in walk and gained any semblance of correct work, then I'd have been content with that.
Pretty much straight away I cracked on with achieving bend and softness. I can't remember exactly the order but I felt today he required shoulder-in (on the straight and on a circle), quarters-in, rein back, leg yielding in and out on a circle, and we worked a little on pirouettes in walk. The latter were coming straight off of shoulder-in on a circle, I was most impressed with him. I worked a little in trot but he wasn't quite ready for that step so we went back to do more of the lateral work.
Through all this he remained very soft and light in hand on the left rein, to the point he could almost worked off the weight of the rein. Only in walk and in a calm frame of mind of course, I'm not suggesting for a second he's working in total harmony all the time, but today he really was great on this rein. On the right he made me work very hard to get any bend, I had to do a lot of give and retake of the reins when he tried to lean on me, along with lots of bend to keep him flexing. I did some in-hand stretches the other day and he was noticeably stiffer stretching along his right neck muscles. Today, when using some flexions in halt, he preferred to avoid the right bend (all I wanted was to see the corner of his eye as his head flexed uniformly) by side-stepping, reining back, etc. I broke it right down for him and we got there in the end :)
Returning to trot, he was totally different. He didn't scoot off, he didn't throw his head up (20 minutes before it was a 50/50 split as to whether I could retain roundness) he was snug around my inside leg and tried his damnedest to flex right when we were on that rein. I gave him big pats and called it a day. To be honest at this point he was just warmed up to be pushed farther but I hadn't the physical or mental stamina today, I guess at that point I could have used a little direction from the ground. But despite that, he's starting to feel like a real Luso, a real riding horse, like the ones I rode in Portugal.
Couldn't be more pleased really. With him for his progress, both within this session today and looking back over the past few months. And with myself for being able to work through the issues as thoughtfully as I know how, and feeling a real positive difference by the end of the hour :)