Gosh, he's a good boy. Doing stuff with Riv is like working with a broke old school horse that you've known for a decade. Well, he's a bit more perky than that, but you get the idea. He does what you ask without drama, he waits while I fuss with a gate or equipment, he doesn't spook or fidget. The extent of his misbehavior is sometimes balking at walking through a muddy spot or being in a bit of a hurry, neither of which is a big deal.
So today we did try long lining. Nothing fancy or really productive--the goal was just to see if he could understand what we were doing. He was a little confused here and there, but he figured it out without getting upset at all. He stood for me to get the surcingle on and the lines set up like a gentleman. I just used his halter, no bridle--now that I know he gets it, we'll try with a bridle. Such a good good boy. We walked big circles, little circles, and several figure eights, and he got better and better as he understood what I was asking.
Just... wow. I realize it's not really a big deal--oh, big whoop, he walked around in circles! But what I'm happy about is that he didn't go into it obviously knowing what I wanted (maybe he's done it before, he's had a job for the past 10 years, but he was clearly unsure of the situation), and yet he quietly went on, tried to do what I asked, and after 5 or 10 minutes was responding correctly and without hesitation.
The only problem is I can see myself becoming complacent because he's just such a darn good boy!