Today at the barn the herd was hanging out in the trees. As usual, I couldn't resist taking some pictures.
That first picture, of Fred the pony lying down, is pure cuteness overload.
Dakota has started coming toward me when he sees me tromping across the pasture. This development warms my heart. It's probably just the carrots, but I choose to believe we are bonding. Today I lunged him in full tack and shortened the side reins one notch. They're still barely touching his mouth, but I like to go slow. He accepted the shorter length without complaint. He has gotten better about the outward drift when going to the left. Even better, he's now able to maintain a (somewhat speedy) canter a couple times around the circle. It's fun to see them get stronger and more balanced.
It turns out Dakota has a funky head. The cob-size bridle arrived, and the bit is riding correctly in his mouth now. Unfortunately, the cavesson is riding way too high, the browband is too narrow, and the throatlatch is too tight. I'm going to have to cobble his bridle together using pieces from both my bridles. And somehow I need to extend the throatlatch. Maybe I'll just hack it off, have buckles installed on both sides, and extend it that way.
Tomorrow post-lungeing I'm going to climb aboard. Given Dakota's behavior up until now, I expect him to behave just fine. I'll probably try out gears one and two, and save cantering for a day when there's someone else around. Again, I don't expect any foolishness, but the arena is quite isolated, and better safe than sorry, right?