Lesson with Ransom in dressage focused on a few questions I had, and test-driving a few solutions for some habits he's picked up.
First up, I learned at Barbara's, to get Ransom bending at the poll & rounding his back, to flex the reins using my entire arm, not just finger-wiggles. This was new, since the last two dressage instructors I found (including Sam), always said to only use fingers, nothing more. I asked Jen for clarification, and now need to change some habits. Without knowing it, I was flexing my arms opposite his front shoulders. For example, left shoulder forward, left hand was flexing the bit. Right shoulder forward, right hand. That's discouraging forward motion, and I need to learn the opposite. Re-train my upper body to flex him left shoulder back, left hand, and right shoulder back, right hand.
Ransom has also started trying to evade bit contact by bending his head to the outside. He'll mostly lean his nose to the outside. Solution? Counterbending at the walk, eventually the same at trot. We worked on counter bending on a 20m circle, but also on the long sides at walk. Ransom fought fought fought! He got better, and this will take more practice. He did recognize that release from the counterbending was a relaxing, and gave with a nice inside bend for a while after.
We also worked on diagonals across the arena. I did a lot of diagonal corner to corner at the trot, focusing on trotting way into the corners. I expect once I get the arena mowed down this will be a bit easier. We also did a lot of transitions from collected walk to loose rein walk, along diagonals, and across that long side - to X - same long side opposite end off-diagonal yuckie thing (in Intro test B,,, yuk!). Moving off deep into the corners helped these diagonals get much better.
Also did a few handfuls of transitions in and out of walk/halt, and walk/trot. Ransom was a bit stiff in down transitions in the lesson, and got better as we moved along. More things to work on.
Lesson time was about an hour. Only one little batch of canter, but a lot accomplished at walk and trot, with much homework to complete.
* Transitions! Last week, lather, rinse, repeat
* Counterbending at walk, maybe trot, on circle and on long sides
* Diagonals! Dive deep into the corners, and start looking ahead down the diagonal as I approach the corners.