So I got my first customer horse in the day before yesterday and I started messing with him today. I skipped yesterday just to give him some time to settle in (and the fact that the wind was crazy yesterday). I went out and got him in the round pen. I put the bridle on, he got a bit high headed and backed up a couple of steps but no fight. I then got the saddle and put it on him. He was okay with me throwing it up there but was a little touchy about the cinch when I started to tighten it a bit. He kept wanting to move forward so I just kept him in a small circle and disengaged his hindquarters until his feet stopped. He eventually stood until I got it tight enough. Then it was time to set his head. I do that by tying his head around each way with the rein just short enough to teach him to give but not so short that it teaches him to brace against the bit. This teaches them to give their nose and flex their neck and also frees up some of my time to work with other horses or do chores until he is relaxed. Sometimes they will be resistant at first and pull against the rein but eventually, they all figure it out and when they are standing with their head cocked to the side and the shortened rein hanging loose, then they are ready to go to the other side.
After I set his head until he was soft each way, I just wanted to see how he would react to moving out under saddle. I made him trot some circles each way until I thought he was ready then I decided it was time to get on. He moved the first few times I tried to mount but with some correction, he stood long enough for me to get on. He was a little snorty and nervous about seeing me above him but he relaxed right down and was trotting circles in no time.
He was a little bit stiff to the right so we spent most of our time trotting circles to the right. At least until I liked how he felt under me. I worked on his flexion and he will give to the bit each way and is super soft in the mouth. He even has a respectable stop for his first ride. When I would let him stop, he was content to stand still until I either moved around or told him to go so I have high hopes for his future as a competition endurance horse. He travels really nice and seems to have a really good mind. Getting off was a bit tricky cause he really doesn't like it when the saddle moves around but that will get better in the next couple of rides. I am anxious to go again tomorrow.