The problem was at the canter. When I came home from riding the simulator, our canter work improved immediately. It wasn't ooh la la or anything, but at least there was a hint of connection. So on Monday, JL tried to help us get even more connected and uphill.
Our left lead canter has a smoother departure. Speedy is "stiff" to this direction which makes the departure fairly straight. We ultimately need to get a better bend, but at least he canters promptly. To the right is an entirely different can of worms. This is his limp "side" and there is nothing straight about it.
With nose pointed forward, JL asked for a right lead canter. I don't know how I stuck to the saddle because Speedy blew a serious gasket. He bucked and bolted and kicked all four legs in all four cardinal directions. We tried a few more times and realized we needed to go back a step.
Instead of cantering, JL had me put him a counter bend and track right at the sitting trot. Every quarter of the circle I asked for a halt with the outside rein until he finally moved his ribs off my outside leg.
We did the counter bend circle for a while and then while maintaining that same bend, we turned left. Eventually, Speedy softened up and we had a nice straight horse. We went back to the canter, but it did no good. He did not want to work off that outside hind leg to the right; he bucked and kicked out for at least 20 minutes.
It was a lot of ugly. We finally called it a night. As I walked him down JL's driveway, he was higher than a kite during his version of the Arabian-Look- At-Me: prancing on rubber band legs, tail flipped over his back, neck arched, nostrils flaring, and eyes big and wide. I gave him some repeated jabs in the neck with my elbow to remind him that HELLO! Your human is under all of this stupidity. By the time we walked up our own driveway, all of his air had gone out and he looked tired, really tired. Good. I hoped he was tired. It served him right.
All of that work paid off however, as he has been much better the last few days. His canter departures still need some work, but he decided that the buck and bolt maneuver resulted in more work than he was willing to do. I rode Wednesday and Thursday and will ride later this morning as well. With a long weekend ahead, he's going to get plenty of canter practice. I'd like to have a shorter, easier lesson this upcoming Monday.
Consider the canter, Speedy G; we can do this the hard way or the right way!