So we're back in full swing. My hip is still being a bit persnickety but with lots of stretches (and advil) it is much better than it was.
The last couple of lessons we've been playing around with some new-ish things - again more attempts at shoulder fore/in at trot. Walk is no problem he can easily do shoulder in on either side, and can even switch it on the long side. Trot rocks his little brain. But I'm happy to say that we can mostly kinda sorta do it. Let's put it this way, I see us doing a respectable shoulder in at the trot by the fall, vs in 200 years.
Other things we're working on are CLEAR and crisp up and down transitions. Emphasize clear. Ben has gotten much better at reacting to my aids, however, sometimes he's all jumbles in the up and down.
We've also been working on creating a bit of spring to his trot, and his canter. The trot we've been doing lots of half halts and going in and out of a passage-like trot. It is hard work - he wants to go long and flat and we're saying no, smaller steps underneath you and vertical. Lift the knees, dude! It is hard work so we don't do it a lot, a progressive build of a few steps in and out a few times per ride.
The canter work is coming along as well. Controlling the shoulders has seemed to really help with the quality of canter. And by that it is getting him to really square up and be aligned. So to the left there is a lot of working square turns (remember we do this in trot too!) , cantering a square instead of a circle. otherwise he wants to fall onto the left shoulder. To the right it is a lot of inside leg outside rein, and much much shorter sets of canter - 5-15 strides and down. Clear downs, clear ups.
I can tell you, it is hard - oh my abs and back) but it is FUN!