Because of the weather, I have spent a lot of time in the barn with Ranger. I was able to teach him a bunch of things in the barn, but it was time to get outside. The afternoon weather this week was not bad, so we did more out in the pasture. Without the confines of the barn to contain him while being lunged, I found Ranger preferred to go sideways, dragging me around the pasture, rather than going forward on cue. I backtracked in his training a little and did a lot of yo-yo, sending and squeeze game, etc., anything to help him grasp the concept of softening to pressure rather than bracing or fighting against it.
I also spent time addressing his inability to lead next to me or to be "driven" from the side. He is pretty comfortable following along behind; I believe he has been ponied in the past. If I tried to get him to lead next to me, though, he would either try to duck behind me or he would charge forward into a lunge and/or try to drag me along. He hasn't gotten away from me, but I don't dare train him outside of a fenced pasture until I get this fixed.
It took him three days to start to relax about circle driving, especially circling to the left. There are some things I've taught him where he got it really quickly. This was not one of them. He was just not comfortable having me walk 4 feet from his shoulder while he circled me.
This is important to take care of now because the act of riding a horse is really like you are "driving" him from his middle. If I am able to "drive" him from his middle while on the ground, he will feel more confident and (hopefully) better understand when I "drive" him while in the saddle.
I also need him to lead beside me so we can work on ground transitions (stop, walk, trot, back) in preparation for under saddle work. It's difficult to do that if he freaks every time I ask him to walk next to me.
He is doing so much better, but I think this will be something I will have to continue working on a little bit each day.