The latest is of course, the right lead canter. Things went quite well on Saturday. They were even better on Sunday. By Tuesday's ride, I was grinning from ear to ear. For the first time ever, I was able to ask for repeated right lead canter departures wherever I wanted to in the arena. We worked in the scary end where I asked for the canter in the second half of the circle at C, between H and C, and even between C and M. If he got fussy, I worked the inside rein as firmly as I needed to remind him that he can't hang on it.
When I took a lesson with Chemaine a week or so ago, she reminded me of a technique that Christian Schacht uses to encourage a horse to let go of the inside rein. He has the rider lift the inside hand toward the outside shoulder, effectively crossing the withers (something we're never supposed to do). The instant the horse lets go, the rider MUST give a release. I can't over-use the technique with Sydney, but mild variations of it remind him that he must let go.
JL has had me sponge or rock the inside rein, but when that doesn't get the job done, I can now use Christian's method. And once Sydney has been encouraged to let go with that aid, it is much easier to remind him with the rocking of the rein.
The more in charge I am, the more relaxed he becomes. This horses doesn't want to have to make a single decision. He doesn't want to save my butt, and he certainly doesn't like multiple choice questions or fill in the blanks. He wants me to point exactly where he is to go.
No problem, Sydney. I can handle it!