I chose to begin with a butterfly pattern, adding an extra cone to the top. Which lends itself to other potential patterns. Not that I needed any more, one is plenty per ride.
Koda & I worked the butterfly pattern, first at a walk and then a trot. One side at a time. It was hard trying to make our passes between the cones flow smoothly. After the first full butterfly, Koda figured the pattern out and tried to hurry through any future attempts. Here I thought I was the one who got bored easily...I worked on asking Koda for continuous fluid movement, with an even lighter touch.
I found myself wondering, how can a person be soft with a horse that doesn't respond to it? The only answer I know of is gradually, by using the least amount of pressure. There are almost always improvements that could be made, but some horses just need more firmness then others. Koda has been this way since we bought him as a yearling. It's not something he learned, it's who he is. You may disagree with me, but when leading/working on the ground with Nemo (who is polar opposite) and Koda before all the formal training started - it was made crystal clear.
We didn't do the butterfly much, a lot of repetition just doesn't work well. Makes it more challenging, because that's exactly what I need. In fact, I will practice this pattern again next ride. There was a lot more I wanted to do with it, like work on quality of arcs, rating our speed, flowing through the entire pattern etc. Time just goes so fast. While working the pattern we would run into Brad & Nemo, get distracted by the evil service door aura, or my wandering mind. I tried to focus on what we were doing, and not Brad's struggles with Nemo - which incidentally are getting worse.
Before I mounted I drew a large box in the freshly raked sand, on the inside of the butterfly. I was really curious to try Shirley's, @ Ride a Good Horse, suggestion. The sand lines didn't last long, but they worked ok with just two riders in the arena. It was kinda humorous actually. At first Koda looked at the lines, then "looked" at me, then looked at the lines. It's really funny watching him think, he gets the cutest look on his face. He figured out I wasn't just inventing lines, and we side-passed/pivoted the perimeter. I had too much going on, and could have done much more with the box. Brad & Nemo enjoyed doing pivots, inside. I liked drawing lines in the sand & the best part was I didn't have to put anything away!
We also did a little loping. I must admit, I've been