Last night I dreamed about riding Horton in a big, green, sloping field with perfect footing (it looked rather like Equinox Farm!). We cantered the uphill grades; my mount was round and willing... it was lovely.
Horton has been here over a month, and he hasn't cantered under saddle since I tried him out before bringing him home. He hasn't offered, and didn't respond the one time I asked for it verbally. Much of his time here has been spent trying out his balky attitude on me, so obviously there's no point in pushing for canter with a horse who isn't thinking "forward."
After my dream, I got up determined to ride Horton early. If I put off riding (like I did yesterday) it often doesn't happen – I get caught up in all that needs doing, it gets too hot, my mental reserves are spent dealing with my son, etc. So this morning I did chores in my breeches and then saddled up.
I told Horton it was time he got with the program; that I knew he could be a good boy. Then I proceeded to ride him accordingly – expecting him to be good and not accepting anything less! And yes, I did ask him to canter. It was a non-starter to the right, but he did canter to the left a couple times. I tried getting the right lead by crossing the diagonal and encouraging a flying change (he was ridden by a hunter/jumper for awhile, after all), but that didn't work. Still, it was a good ride overall, and another stride forward in the attitude department!