Today was one of those days where you immediately scrap any notion of progress and focus on keeping the brain between the horses ears.
The big door was open at the end of the arena and Boomer was having a really hard time making up his mind about if it was very scary or very exciting. I think he finally decided that it was very exciting to be able to see outside but that the things going on outside (tractors, horses in paddocks) were very scary. We had one spook/bolt moment when the tractor drove by, but otherwise he stayed mostly under control. We spent about 10 minutes doing circles at the walk at the end gate focusing on keeping an inside bend for the whole circle. He would give me a beautiful bend at the 'far side' of the circle and then at the end close to the gate he would invert and bend towards the gate. So, we pretty much did leg yields around the circle at the walk. Then we started doing figure eights and trotting. It was all very exciting. For Boomer. But in the end, we spent about 45 minutes riding, with at least the last 15 minutes with him very relaxed. He was readily chewing the bit and on good contact with a low neck. I was very happy with the trot work actually! We quit on a good note after he trotted right along the gate in a circle and willingly held the inside bend.
I really have no idea if that approach is the best way to handle that situation. The other, admittedly tempting, option was to work at the other end of the arena and ignore the scary area. That may have worked and he may have eventually realized that it wasn't anything to worry about and he might have relaxed sooner. However, I felt that it was important for Boomer to work through his excitement and give me correct work.