Wow, today didn't go as planned. I was going to move him to the round pen to hang out and eat hay while I cleaned out his pen, then go for a walk. I thought we'd be all happy and harmonious after our lovely walk yesterday. Not so.
He didn't necessarily want to be caught and he jerked his head away as I reached out to halter him. Since it seemed like outright refusal rather than fear, I didn't really want to tiptoe around and sweetly ask his permission. We did some work in the mustang pen and then I haltered him. I worked on rubbing him vigorously, and yes, I even patted him a lot. Poor fella. Lo and behold though, he got over his flinchiness much quicker when I pressed the issue than he had when I gently groomed him.
Then we went to the round pen and did a lot more work there. We'd regressed and he was jumping and jerking when we did direction changes. About as good as he was the first day here. So we worked until it became smooth, then I just let him circle mindlessly in one direction until he let go of some of his tension and started licking and chewing, then did the same thing in the other direction.
After that he finally got his peaceful alone time while I cleaned out his pen.
Tonight I got him out again and we went for a walk. I walked him on one side while pulling the hay cart on the other, and he didn't seem terribly disturbed by it. After I'd put that away we went up the driveway. All the way up. Even the scary part. We checked the mail, then we came back down. There were even cows there.
He's really a pretty sensible horse, not spooky even though we're doing a lot of things and going through areas that would get my other horses all worried. We came back through a bit of a marsh, walked back by the house, crossed another ditch (leap!), did some maneuvering around cones, and then called it a night. It was getting pretty dark by then and I hadn't brought out a light to feed by.
I'm still pretty tickled with my fella. I know there are always those days that seem like large steps backwards, but I also know they're often followed by huge leaps forward, so I'm not too worried about it.