Report Card Time!

Our two-year-old, Jake, has been getting lessons maybe three times a week. He's doing showmanship, getting led from both sides, learning the cues to walk, whoa and stand square like a pro. I've been longing him with a surcingle in preparation for ground driving. I have an 'assistant' - Kathy - come once a week and she not only keeps me motivated, she is there for safety reasons so I'm not working him when I'm alone here on the farm. The other times I wait for Harry to be around so Jake's not getting as much work as I'd like but I'm pleased with his progress anyway. I've had the saddle on him and that caused him concern, so I got to see how he deals with such things. He 'gulps' like his mother does and the whites of his eyes show a little bigger, then he lets out a few big bucks, straight up on all fours, before he makes up his mind. I'm looking for a pattern here for when I eventually get on him, as well as a way to diffuse his strategy for obvious reasons!
For the next month we'll carry on with introducing the snaffle bit and ground driving him, as well as getting him out trailering a time or two. He's levelling off his topline finally - where there was 3 inches of difference there is now only 1 1/2 inches. I may get on him but I'm not in any hurry to 'ride' him until he levels out a bit more. I'd rather ground drive him over obstacles and pony him until he's ready. There are plenty of things to do!
Then there's Spike. At 14 months he's 14.3HH in front and just over 15HH behind, 780 lbs. A little giraffe. He's been doing well at the shows in halter, chalking up a couple of reserve championships against all older horses at both the Paint and Pinto shows. Every show we get a bit better. I've been showing him with his mother, Holly, side-by-side and he's actually more calm than she is at the shows. Last show my coach came out and gave us a few pointers to polish our performance so the next show should be even better!
In between we're practicing showmanship at least every other day and going for trail rides through the woods, ponying with either Holly or Cody. He's learning about being clipped - I can do his bridle path and whiskers now and a little bit of ears, but not too much because apparently it tickles. He's even thinking getting a bath is pretty good too, resting a back leg for it now. I guess his mother explained the part about the enjoyment of going to the spa...And he's loading and trailering without a concern. 
Spike has a few more shows yet this year and the Paint Futurity, so wish us luck!