I've worked with the grullo about three more time since last post. He's round penning much better. I have control of all 3 gaits now, and he is MOSTLY connected to my energy in the round pen. I'm beginning to be able to read him, and can sense when he's a little "fresh" and might benefit from a round pen session before the ride. Today was one of those days, and he threw a few cow kicks in the round pen, but settled in after that. And we had no mischief while I was mounted and we were cantering.
I think he still needs time and practice to balance me while we canter and trot. He's such a little guy, that he really has to focus to carry me without losing his balance. I'm doing my best to stay centered, but he's a little "loose" anyway, and he struggles. That's my perception anyway.
I continue to flex him to keep him soft in the face. He is longeing MUCH better, yielding hindquarters for changes in direction and not quite as dramatic in his direction changes. He does fight the halter pressure a bit, and can try to run out of the trotting circle while longeing. I keep giving him little corrections to encourage him to keep looking inside while circling and to stay in an arc.
Rode in front pasture and worked on transitions: walk, trot, and canter. He's still needing reminders to stay straight, and can move like a drunken sailor. I try to keep my shoulders back and just look at a target off in the distance and let my hands and legs do the rest to keep him moving in a straight line towards our target. I can report improvement in this area, but not mastery.
He wolfs his food like no other horse I've ever seen. I put rocks in his grain bin to slow him down today, and that worked. Until he figured out how to just pick up the rocks and remove them from his bin. I'm going to have to start feeding him from a hay bag, because he's finishing his ration of hay in half the time as the other horses.
He's a very quick study. Show him twice, and he's got it. He really "searches" for the answer. Good boy.