Harley, dressage. His warm up bothered him towards the end. I snapped the whip with the string visible rather than off behind, and he tore off at gallop-left like I had shot him. I got him calmed down, but as soon as the string wiggled, he took off yet again. Once he realized the string wasn't a snake to eat him, I hopped on.
I wore my tall boots, spurs, and had the Myler combo bit on the lowest ring. Biggest influence. I shortened my reins over the first 10 minutes of the ride, gently increasing the request. Rather than plain circles, we rode 3-loop serpentines, diagonals, and only a few circles. I didn't stay in the same direction much at all. Lots of transitions. In the X-line on the serpentines, I'd break to walk for 2-5 steps, then up to trot, often changing direction at the same time. On the diagonal, much of the same.
When I asked for the first canter-right, I was delighted. It worked. He was together, smooshed, and had an uphill canter. MUCH better than the strung out mess it has been. After canter, his trot was forward and energetic. Very nice.
Canter-left at first ask, was lazy. He hung on the forehand, and stumbled pretty big. Nice & dramatic. He quickly picked himself up, but wasn't round. Head up, nose out and bent to the outside. Yuck. I held my inside hand out from his neck, and guided his body with my legs. Things improved, and when I had 4 nice canter strides, back to trot.
There were very few stretchy-trot circles today. When he had a walk break, I let him stretch out & down, but I didn't stay there long. Towards the end, he got incredibly lazy at canter. I popped him with both spurs and a harsh yell all at once. He quickly lifted his whole body, and after a few wild strides, he settled into a canter-left almost identical to the canter-right. Fantastic.
Romeo got much of the same, focusing on serpentines, leg yields, and lots of direction and transition in walk and trot. In the canter, all figure8s with simple changes in the middle. He felt very relaxed, and all but the changes were done on a fairly loose rein. All the serpentines were done by looking in direction, and not with reins or leg aids. Delightful. The transitions were almost exclusively on "air brakes". This is something to teach every trail horse, at least I think... Msg me or comment here if you're new, or missed the first few air brake lessons.