My ONLY fret is that he's not soft on the left side. He'll flex his head around nicely on the right, even spin in that direction. But on the left he'll back up, turn in circles, everything BUT bring his head around proper.
He's healthy, not sore, no pain, teeth checked and their perfectly OK.
He rides in a solid-mouthed medium port curb bit. When flexing the head, I ask by sliding my hand up the rein and applying a dab of pressure to cue. Normally, that little "hey, head please" cue is all that's needed. With him, we go in circles and backwards until he seems to 'get it'.
Same principle is used with backing (which he is doing very well with). I deepen the seat, verbally cue, and give that little 'dab' of pressure. Just enough to cue the mouth, nothing more.
It seems really like he's a 'righty' versus a 'lefty' kind of horse. Any tips for better softening him up? He is VERY green still, and there are many small kinks to be worked out.
He has the potential of a show horse, just not the finesse of one, it seems. Occasionally he gets a bit ahead of himself and gets excited and the smoothness of his cue response drops a bit. Give him a solid year of riding, long rides and wet saddle blankets, and I expect that he'll be an excellent refined mount.