I don't know what has happened, but everything that JL and I have worked on for the past six months is finally gelling. Just like Speedy G, Sydney was naughty yesterday, but I had an answer for each goofy offering. When he squealed and flung his head, I bent his nose to my knee and worked him around my inside leg to outside rein. When he got stiff, stiff, stiff, I pulled his head left with inside leg and then I pulled his head right with inside leg and then left and right, over and over.
When I even suspected that he might blow through my outside aids, I made the circles very, very small and added lots of outside leg. If that wasn't enough, I used the pulley halt, especially at the canter. When we take our first canter strides, Sydney tries to explode away from me. I usually wrestle him back onto the circle and repeat the attempt. JL suggested instead that if he hangs on my rein and runs off, I should halt him hard, and get him off my outside rein and leg. So that's what I did. I used the pulley halt, and then MOVED him with the outside rein and leg back and over. I did it a few times and viola ... success.
It was not a pretty ride, but again, I was able to successfully school through every single "naughty." I was able to work him both directions at the trot, we cantered to the left, and all of the work took only half an hour. That might seem puzzling. I was glad for the 30 minute ride because sometimes it takes 45 minutes before I can get him to listen. My goal right now is to simply get him on my aids. If that takes 12 minutes, we're done.
We did it in 30 minutes yesterday. Here's hoping for 15 minutes today!