Well it was the same sort of start as last Monday. He wasn't tense but insisted on playing with his head, rushing in the walk etc. So I tried a new strategy of more walk lateral work, getting him to really step into the contact. Frequent changes of direction and bend seemed to help and we had some great leg yield, even off the left leg.
He was still a bit too *onwards* but we went forward to trot, argghh.....awful. More head play, avoiding stepping in and up with the left hind and too heavy in my hand. Now he wasn't curling back but his neck was tight so I decided to stay in trot and bend his neck, slow deliberate bend, keeping the contact there (sometimes 2 strides sometimes as much as 30) until he took the bend in the neck and could talk back to my hand. Then we would stretch down and out and continue on a large circle until he tensed his neck again, when we would change rein and ask for the opposite bend and then release. With a rest in the middle we did this exercise for 15/20 minutes, at this point he was flexible and free over his back and neck. Really nice to sit on!! At this point I treated him and as his head came round for the treat he had the thickest lippy I've ever seen on him. We called it a day (very happy of course) and walked up the lane to the woods and back to cool off....it's been lovely here today.
So a good day but I sometimes wonder if there is any benefit in him not working on a Sunday??