For several years now I've learned that a horse must be soft and forward and that we must be prepared to give so that the horse goes into our hand. Blah, blah blah is apparently all I've actually heard because it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally got it. Or, I should say, got it with Sydney.
I already wrote about that the other day, but it was at Monday's lesson that I got confirmation that I really do have a better understanding of an elastic connection. JL is hard to impress, and even when I suspect that she's impressed, she doesn't get all let's have a party on me. She'll say, I like what you're doing with your inside rein … good catch there … that was a better transition, etc. I definitely got all of those comments and more at the lesson.
We continued working on lightness to achieve a better canter to trot transition. As I ask for the downward, Sydney needs me to weight the outside seat bone, resist his forward with my hands, and add leg to get him to stretch his hind legs into the trot. He wants to drop out of the canter onto his forehand while his hind legs drag out behind. JL was helping me to figure out how to keep him uphill while helping his hind legs stay active.
It's going to take us some time to get a nicely uphill, downward transition, but I think my feel for the contact is getting better and better.