While we wait to go visit M I decided to do an exercise to build trust with him. When we started him we worked him in the round pen and doing what is called joining up. It works best in the round pen but since I don't have one I used the lunge line. I layed the ground work by grooming him (this always relaxes him) then going to the small paddock and asking him to stand quietly, back up, walk forward, etc. He briefly pays attention then focuses elsewhere. It is constant "yo you, pay attention!" He also loves to tear off at a gallop when we get to the lunge spot. I made him walk to the center and wait until I told him to go.
Now I am by no means an expert at joining up so I simply practiced what M had taught me last year. I let him lunge and kept him forward until he showed signs of wanting to stop. It took him quite awhile to wear down. As usual he was distracted and only occasionally turned an ear to me. When he starts to relax he will put his nose to the ground. When he did this I turned my back to him. I made no eye contact and looked down. Eventually he stopped and walked over to me. I walked away and he followed. He was still distracted but this was progress. A pat on the forehead and we headed to the barn.
We will do this again today. This horse has to learn respect and trust with me. I feel completely unattached to him and I am sure this is mutual. When he misbehaves the bond and trust grow further apart. This perpetuating the bad behavior.
I will try to update our work with M later this week. This horse remains a challenge but we aren't giving up yet.