Today I put the saddle on him and left him in the round pen for several hours. Then we did some hindquarter disengagement. He was all bound up and stiff on his left side. It took a while to get smooth movement, but it did eventually happen.
Today he was willing to give me his left side while I stood on the mounting block, but it was really hard for him to bring his head around to me on that side. He didn't mind looking at me like this:
I massaged his neck and spent a lot of time just standing there, on both sides. He eventually relaxed enough to drop his head and breathe.
Then we played the on-again, off-again game. It went quite well, mounting and dismounting with the saddle from both sides.
He's very focused.
You might say he's intense.
And now - completely off topic - Winston's butt can't touch the ground when he sits down. Seems to me this might be a conformation flaw? It's kinda cute how he squats. He likes to sit on the back of his butt like a people when he's on the couch. I wonder if that'll be hard on his joints in the long run.
I'm not sure how much horse time I'll have with the holiday coming up. So in case I don't see you by then, Happy Thanksgiving!