After Alex's performance last night, I knew something had to give tonight, at the very least, the gremlins might make an appearance.
I set up the same grid of cross-rails, but raised them another hole. On the other side, I set up a cross-rail without trot poles and then another two strides to a tiny vertical.
I decided to go on and lunge him since the indoor arena footing is still too wet and desperately needs to be dragged. I knew we wouldn't get much canter work done in the saddle since it's still hard for him to balance me and himself even when the footing is good. He saw one gremlin on the lunge, aka one of the barn cats outside the arena, but then went right back to work. He was fussy in the bridle and although he had some really nice moments, he just really wanted to fight about stretching down the long sides. I feel like he just isn't strong enough to maintain it consistently yet and then he gets anxious, but the immediate assumption of giraffe position the moment we started down the long side was really annoying me.
After Alex finally saw things my way, I went to shorten my stirrups to jump. He immediately started getting amped because he knew we were about to jump. The grid rode great, although I think I was probably less than stellar a few times through. He was rushy on approach to both lines, but jumped everything fine. We had to stop or do a circle a few times in order to curve the rushes. I'm going to have to work hard on that with him, because right now he's all go go go!
Alex could have cared less about the vertical beyond an initial curious glance. He did manage to canter a few steps from the cross-rail and jump the vertical which was good.
So not a bad night, just an ok night. I really hope the arena gets a little drier and dragged. It felt like the footing was bothering him. He's barefoot in back and I know he hates sliding around.
Might make the second jump of the grid a vertical this weekend, we'll see :-)