Great news, guys!
I rode him bareback for around four or five days. He did really well, and he seemed very responsive and comfortable. I had read that riding bareback can help build the bond between you and your horse, so that's what I did. I spent those four or five days riding in my humongous
front yard, walking down the slight hill, and then turning around by the fence that separates my yard from the road to go back up the hill. I also figured out that Artic isn't spooked by cars or anything (probably because he's a former racer, and had such thorough training to get ready for the track).
After those four or five days had passed, I decided to put the saddle back on him, as he'd done very well with me on him bareback. I walked him down the hill, and then walked back up the hill about three times around. When I was going down again, I decided to try and trot him. When I got to the bottom of the hill, I clicked to him and nudged him a little bit. He willingly began a trot, and I trotted him up the hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I let him walk again, and kept walking until I was at the bottom of the hill again, and asked him to trot again, which he responded to very well. I went around trotting most of the way around the yard three or four times around.
I let him walk a couple times around again to relax a little before I asked him to trot at the bottom of the hill again. As we were turning to go up the hill, he out of the blue starts into a canter, and keeps cantering until we're at the top, then I asked him to walk, then stopped him. I'm telling you that I gave that horse the biggest hug I've ever given anyone or anything. Haha. I was extremely
proud of Artic.
So, does anyone know why he may have started responding as well as he did the first day?