Thursday he had the day off, but did have to stand for the farrier to put new shoes on him. Friday the trainer rode him early, which means he essentially had another full 30 hours off until our ride today.
Immediately I noticed he was tired and sluggish, but my friend was there to video us before she rode her own horse, so I pushed on. Of course, because of that, I felt pressure to just get on with it and not do what have been doing recently- more transitions. So as a result, I look naggy, my position is off, too. Dammit, when will I learn to just ride the way my horse needs me to.
Despite that, when comparing these videos to the work done in the summer, wow- what a difference! He's stepping under himself much better, has a much stronger (almost too strong) connection - which is so different from where we were just a few months ago- hind legs dragging out behind and him ducking behind the contact. He's able to make smaller circles, change direction all while (mostly) keeping the connection.
As always, we have SO much work to do still, but heck, I'll take this progress!
(and no, I am not working on any fantasy that this horse and I are ready for First level...its kind of an inside joke between my friend and I)