Drift and I had an excellent ride today - whatever his difficulties were a couple of days ago they seem to be past, at least for now. Perfectly still for mounting on a loose rein, and lots of very nice walk and trot work, including some trot work on a looser rein. His softening is pretty consistent at walk and trot and all transitions, except when he's momentarily distracted by a "thought magnet" (credit Tom Moates for that wonderful term) such as the goat, a plastic bag blowing by or horses nearby in turnout. I'm still looking for that elusive softness from the inside - he's pretty compliant with my requests but not altogether "with" me yet.
Pie and I went on a good long trail ride with Charisma. Pie was sporting his full bug armor, which helped somewhat with the horrible mosquitos and flies, which bit my (sprayed with Off) legs instead. Pie was very looky on this ride - lots of nervousness and looking over his shoulder at possible demons. He did ride by the evil blue tarp without too much trouble. He was very tentative, not wanting to lead and wanting to take any trail fork that led towards home. I found the ride mask somewhat problematic - I couldn't really judge the position of his ears or expression in his eye. As we got very close to home, he was all of a sudden very worried about something behind him - I never could see what it was - and scooted a bit forward and sideways and then looked over his shoulder in a worried way. I chickened out and dismounted, even though I could probably have ridden through whatever would have happened. I led him the rest of the way back to the barn - he was quite nervous, chomping on the bit, which is rare for him, and when I took his ride mask off the whites of his eyes were showing. I probably feel worse about getting off than I should - it didn't harm him, or me, although it certainly shows my lack of confidence. I guess it's going to take as long as it takes for both of us . . . Dawn was neglected, except for grooming - I was just too worn out to ride her.