When I put his grooming box by the tie rail and walked over to take him out of his stall, he started grinning. In fact, he grinned so big that his eyes squeezed shut.
I rode him in the arena for about ten minutes to assess his attitude. He is only five after all. And he hasn't been ridden in three months. Initially, he was smoking around the arena at a very forward walk (which I encouraged) and it took about ten minutes to get his focus on me. Once he was listening to my seat and my leg, stopping and turning and moving where I wanted him to go, we headed down the back driveway and around the block. I worked on keeping the forward walk, on keeping his back up and his hind end pushing, but otherwise left him alone. Other than a few reminders when he popped his head up or tried to snatch a bite of the brushy trees and shrubs along the bridle path, he was good as gold. He only spooked once and I knew it was coming as he had been giving something the wild eye as we rode up the road. When we got even with the "something," he scooted sideways into the road. I told him not to be a goof and we continued on. He was very happy, marching along. We left Flash in the dust (they were doing a western amble) and could hear Jackson screaming from home, but Winston just did his job.
When we got home, I put him in the pasture so he could roll and relax.
I went into the pasture to take his picture and he immediately came over to me. I love having a horse who wants to work, who wants to be with me and who tries to please. (Jackson did too, but Auke... not so much).