Thank you to everyone for their support! Sam and I really appreciate it!
More steps forward today. I woke up and I wasn't nervous about riding. No butterflies even though he has had since Thursday off work. I went out, saddled him up and headed up to the round yard. This time I led him up because I noticed that someone hadn't cleaned the horse poo out of it so I cleaned it up before mounting. Sam just followed me around sticking his nose in the way and then snotting all over me! Gotta love them!
Did the norm in the round yard concentrating on my position and on our stop, go, turn. I then headed out to the big riding paddock. Sam was great, once again showed a little hesitation to go through the gully but after a bump he kept moving forward. He really wasn't as silly as I thought he would be. He did settle very quickly. He was doing so well we were cantering around on the right rein which is our stiff side and he was really listening. I would go from a 20m circle to a straight line then a circle back onto a straight line. No falling in or out. I thought I would try something due to him listening so well. I started to canter towards an area in the paddock that we have always had problems with. (Tension, looking around, really hollowing the back) When I felt him get a bit tense I circled 20m and when I came back around he was settled again so I cantered on straight and again when I felt a little tension come in I circled 20m. We both did so well. We got right into the heart of the 'problem area' I then sat deep and asked him to walk. He really pulled and ran forward into the transition so I asked for rein back immediately which he did and the moment he lightened I stopped asking and he halted. I gave him a long rein and he was happy to walk around, relaxed, looking, but still relaxed.
We did some trot circles, back to walk then we went through the gullies over that side of the paddock. He was just so calm. On our way back I decided to take him up a lane way that we normally have a lot of problems with. Even leading him up there he was always tense and grew another two hands. At first he resorted back to walking a very wobbly line. I insisted that he walk straight and with purpose and after two corrections he did. We got up to a part that had a flapping rug on the gate and an upside down wheelbarrow on the ground and he had to walk through the middle of them. I was expecting some hesitation - none! he walked forward like a pro!
On the way back Malcolm the owner of the Agistment Centre came up in his ute. Sam stood still for a good 10min while we chatted. Even though the flies were really bad he stood still and just nodded his head against those pesky flies! He really is a little marvel and I love him more and more each day - I didn't think that was possible! My confidence is coming back to what it used to be and hopefully it will get even stronger than what it was!!!!!!!