Today's ride was a lot nicer. I made sure Sam was really relaxed at the walk before anything else. I did a few relaxation exercises for myself, breath in taking the shoulders up, breath out dropping the shoulders right down. Just moving the head around from side to side and back to front. Taking the reins in one hand and letting that arm drop down from the shoulders.
I asked Sam up into the trot and let him poke around. No pressure just trot and up into the canter. He carried himself around at the canter in a very strung out way but was calm and relaxed.
After another walk I gathered up the reins for a light contact and asked Sam up into the trot. It took a bit of pressure to get him into the trot but I didn't want to bump him because this is where he gets upset. At first he was rushing, throwing his head and showing general signs of tension and being upset. I kept asking him to stretch down, change of rein through figures of eight and serpentines. Soon I could feel him relaxing, slowing down within himself and starting to just trot. Back to walk and we walked on a loose rein for a few minutes. We practiced walking straight and halting.
Back up into trot and this time the transition was better. Not so much head throwing and he responded quicker to my squeeze. Once we were settled again in the trot I asked for a canter. He rushed in the trot, went stiff as a board and stuck his little nose out. I asked him to come back and soften and tried again. Once again went stiff as a board, stuck his nose out and rushed. I bought him back again and softened again. This time I used a stronger half halt and used my voice. Much better. He was tense but not any where near as much. I let him canter around and concentrated on my position. The transition from canter to trot was awful but we can't fix everything at once. My focus today was to try and keep Sam relaxed.
Changed the rein and our canter transition was a lot better. For our cool down I took Sam over to the reserve and we had a lovely long walk on a loose rein up and down the hills and through the trees. I think he really enjoyed it.
So what I believe is that Sam is a horse that you can not bully. He likes things to be taken slowly and softly. Most horses are probably this way but he is just 'vocal' about it. I hope to fit in a ride again tomorrow afternoon and see what we can achieve then!