Mystic and I had our December lesson last night. I SO wish I could afford to do one every week as it is amazing the progress we make just within our lessons. Maybe someday! He came out really stiff and hanging on my right rein which is completely normal for him but also something that we need to work on improving as going into our 2nd level tests I need to be able to influence him much easier. We started doing some spiraling in and out of a circle first working on controlling his hind end and keeping it from swinging side to side like he tries to do. The work is definitely getting much harder and that is one of his ways of getting out of it, completely understandable! The tricky part was keeping control of his hind end and getting him to carry himself on the right rein and not plowing down on it. It is super hard to coordinate all of it! You feel like you start getting the correct bend and you lose his butt or the other way around!
The hard part about him being so heavy on the right rein is that it transfers to everything! Our shoulder ins to the left are pretty good at this stage of his training but to the right we really struggled. Finally we took a break from the shoulder in and really worked on getting him off that rein. Basically I just have been allowing him to lean on it. Once I took the rein and really got onto him with my inside leg and tapping his butt with the whip to show him that I wanted his hind end engaged and stepping under we made a ton of progress with our shoulder in tracking that way. I just need to be more insistent with it and not allow him to go any other way. It was amazing the difference I could feel from the beginning to the end! That along with me riding him into the shoulder in better helped improve it.
We also got a few canter-walk transitions. A few good and few not so good mixed together, stuff you would expect from both a horse and rider learning how to do it all. I did learn that I just really need to seriously squeeze him with my legs and use much less hand. By the time we started doing walk-canters he was shutting me out and not really responding to the forward ques leaving less than desirable transitions but that can be worked on another day.
It is all a learning process for us both and neither of us have done any of this before which makes everything more difficult! I have never ridden a correct shoulder in or collected canter so I have no idea if what I am feeling is correct or not. That is why I learn so much in our lessons because I have her telling me when it is right and I know how that felt. We are not only teaching him but also me! We will get there but im definitely getting the whole "the most tears are shed between 1st and 2nd" thought. It will be a much harder transition from 1st to 2nd then anything else. But I cannot wait to get there!