Speedy's connection is now pretty good. He has developed some relatively good impulsion, and the thrust is mostly there. He is steady in the bridle, and is in every practical sense, a very broke horse.
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); This is where we're a wee bit stuck, that part about accepting more weight on the hindquarters.
moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium gaits; and is reliably on the bit. Well, no, not so much. He is reliably on the bit, but the uphill tendency is still a bit of a problem.
A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carriage is required than at First Level. I feel reasonably solid here. The dude is bendy, swingy through his back, and while he has sufficient self-carriage at the trot, he doesn't want to always sit and push at the collected canter.
He's in a French link Baucher right now, but when he gets ridden next, hopefully this afternoon, I am going to pop the above bit in (after I put the chain back on) and see what I get. This is an MP 04, a comfort snaffle with low port. This is a Level 2 mouthpiece which means that while it still uses tongue pressure, the slight port allows some tongue relief if the horse is relaxed and carrying himself.
This particular mouthpiece is USEF (now USEquestrian) legal, but the Kimberwick cheek pieces are not. I don't care right now. I am hoping that the mild curb action of the cheek pieces will get Speedy's attention and get him to SIT. Right now, when I ask for a half halt, he is leaning on my hands which means there is not enough weight on his hindquarters.
If I get the reaction I want from this bit, I'll consider buying it with legal cheekpieces. It might also just be enough to switch back and forth between it and the Baucher.
I'll keep you posted!