Still super cold today which means the horses are only out for half a day (read: full of themselves) and it is too icy to let Charlie run around in the outdoor to release energy. I did turn him out a bit in one of the larger square paddocks this afternoon to see if he wanted to stretch his legs a bit before getting to work; after trotting very carefully around for a lap or two and throwing a haphazard tiny buck-kick he decided this was no fun. Since I knew I couldn't push him too far today mentally (he was still pretty high) we worked a lot on getting to know each other more through "hanging out", grooming, and doing "games" in the aisle. Charlie made some good progress learning that he only gets to go where he wants to go (ie out the barn door or into his stall) if I say it's ok and he is polite. If he rushes or runs into me or loses focus we back up or circle and go the other direction and start again. We did a lot of stop and go, back up and go forward, up and down the barn aisle, and in and out the barn and stall doors.
Although it is hard for him, he is understanding the whole "stop or go back with a small hand gesture" idea now and will stand for small spans of time (albeit impatiently) until I ask him to walk forward or I come back to him. My two proudest moments were (1) Charlie backing halfway down the aisle without a fuss on a loose lead and then (2) backing in and out of his stall several times with my only cue being given from several feet away at the end of the rope. At the time I didn't think we were doing much of anything today really but looking back I am beginning to appreciate the small steps of progress. :)
Oh, in other news, my oversize browband came in from SmartPak and fits great!