Kara agreed this was worth trying, and that the more advanced students generally warm-up that way, so I did that for the warm-up. She walked out to grab a cup of coffee from the office, and while she did that, I walked around the little obstacle course, turning the whole ring into a sort of mutant figure-8, with the center passing in a twisty little line through the obstacle course. Once Kara returned, when I'd done that twice, she directed me on another course, doing figure-8's around a set of traffic cones she put out as an experiment.
After this less-boring warm-up, Roman was still reluctant to trot, but it only took me one and a half laps around the ring to convince him to trot, which is considerably better than previous lessons. We ended up doing a lot more trotting than I'd been used to since starting on Roman -- both posting, and in two-point -- and I can tell I'm going to be incredibly sore tomorrow and this weekend.
As a result, we started working on freeing up my hand from the neck strap -- not relying on it so much, even though keeping my hand there -- during the trot, which has, alas, revealed that my balance could use a little work on turns; I've been relying too much on the neck strap to balance myself. It was a little sobering -- and a little frustrating -- to realize how much I had been relying on it, in fact.
Still, there was at least some progress by the end of the lesson, and Roman and I are definitely getting along together. The real victory this week was getting him to trot at /all/ in any sort of reasonable time-frame.
Sometimes they decide to keep a student on a horse for a year or more, and so this week Kara said that unless I tell her I'm too frustrated with Roman's behavior, I'm probably on him for about the next year. This is partly because she thinks I'm really benefitting from it, and partly because they've been talking about whether Roman should remain a school horse or go to one of the other barns on the farm; Kara really wants to keep him in the school, even if few students will willingly ride him, because she thinks that his balky behavior makes him a valuable lesson horse.
Anyway, gave him a good grooming and used that EquiSentials Coat Enhancer that I've come to like on him. Cleaned his stall, put him away, cleaned the tack, cleaned up the cross-tie area, fed him a treat, and then went to visit Chester and Coalby for a bit. Gave them the traditional treat, and checked in with Kara. Roman is getting ridden on Saturday, but only in the morning, so if I want him Saturday afternoon he's mine to give another good grooming and batch of Coat Enhancer, and possibly take him for a walk. (Guess where I'll be Saturday afternoon?)
Tired. Gonna get a little painkiller, catch up on the SFF.net crowd, look into dinner, and collapse down to watch CSI and Without a Trace. But I have the happy horse feeling; this is really always the high point of my week, even when my lesson isn't as smooth as it could be. Being drooled on and chewed on by Coalby, visiting Chester, spending time with Roman... it's really become an important part of my routine, and of my life in general.