Today's ride was great. It slipped my mind to lunge him first, but it made no difference. He was awesome. We rode up the hill, around to the back of the barn, and back, into the corn field, all the way around it... where he had his first water crossing experience with a rider. He was a little nervous, but I had purposely aimed him at a slightly wider, shallower, less scary part of the irrigation ditch, and after a bit of "NO" and my "YES" he uhm... I'm not sure if he JUMPED it or if he bolted across it. But the important thing is... he crossed it. So I gave him a pat and a good boy!
And the rest of the ride, we worked on woah and go. By the end of the ride, he was stopping for me rather reliably, usually at my just saying "Woah." If he kept going, he would stop when I tighten my abdomen to stop following his motion and a repeat of the command. A few more rides like this and I feel more comfortable asking him to work in a trot. But not yet.
It's been such a long time since I've ridden so much, and while yes, it is like riding a bike, you never really forget, I've forgotten my balance. His trot is beautiful, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel like I'm going to pitch over his shoulder at any minute. Anyways. That will come back in time. And with enough rides, I'll get there. This one lasted a whole hour and 15 minutes. Or something like that. A long ride for him, but we took our time going places and he got to stop frequently.
Also, I learned that when he's walking along in a relaxed state, he responds extremely well to very slight directions. I still use the reins to ask him to change direction along with my weight, but all I had to do was barely lift one side and barely touch the other to his neck, with a change in my weight, and he would change direction. Such a smart psycho pony!