"Sure!" I said. although inside I was remembering how Charlie was rearing and bucking last night during turn in, rushing the fence, and was thinking "he hasn't been ridden in a week, it's freakin' freezing today; this may be a disaster".
I brought out my western saddle for extra grip and put him through a few exercises in the round pen first. He seemed very clear and level-headed, but I've been tricked by that before, so I was cautious and stayed a good distance away from Coty at first.
I needn't have worried. Charlie was perfect! We started doing circles and serpentines, crisscrossing and circling around each other, then changing direction, passing, practicing leading and following. He made me look like a pro and after a few minutes of trotting I felt him start to breath deep and evenly and settle into what I call his "working zen" mode. He made me look like a pro, and himself a perfect gentleman; I couldn't have asked for better or more beautiful behavior. He couldn't have cared less when Coty pinned his ears or passed him, even when he came up from behind.
As an added bonus, being forced to trot and trot and trot the drills with Coty forced me to actually do the repetitive trot work I am normally too bored or pressed for time to really focus on. What resulted in the end was some beautiful even trotting and supple turns. It really was amazing.
At the end we practiced standing side by side and face to face. Coty was being good enough that we decided to let them touch noses which, after a few seconds, resulted in a shriek from Coty and some really obnoxious striking out. Charlie didn't move a muscle!! Coty was corrected and we did it again a few more times until he no longer reacted. Charlie wasn't nervous at all and didn't make a peep or take one step away.
Today I really loved my horse :)