The dreads are out! Today we started on the cross ties, and overall it went well. I got rid of all the dreads and he stood for the most part, with the exception of when I tried to see about putting a saddle pad on him. We had a minor panic moment then, but after I let him sniff and bite it, he relaxed. After seeing that reaction, instead of putting on a saddle like I had hoped to do, I put a surcingle on over the pad. He wasn’t a fan of having the girth tightened, but we did it little by little and got there eventually.
The long lines haven’t come in yet, so I lunged him again and this time it went very smoothly: only one buck and no attempts to change direction spontaneously. I mostly tried to work on getting him to respond to voice commands for change in pace, which didn’t go all that well, but he wasn’t bad. He just didn’t really know what I wanted of him. We will get there
After, we went back to the cross-ties and he stood perfectly. I actually mean perfectly. He let me try a bunch of saddles on him (none of them cinched down) and I even braided his tail. I braided his tail and I measured his height: turns out he’s 16.1 or so. We worked on picking up our feet nicely and not trying to immediately put them back down, which was a success.
All in all, I’m pretty impressed. I whole heartedly expected this to be a train wreck, but I think he actually really likes the attention. Sure there’s time for things to go wrong, but I’ll take what I can get for now.