I had been working on the inside bend for the better part of a week; she noticed the improvement right away. Nothing is ever perfect though, so she had some suggestions. First, she liked my opening inside rein. Speedy has gone back to an old trick, however that I wasn't catching. When he doesn't want to bend, or when I am not being vigilant, he tucks his nose down which allows him to duck behind the contact and straighten out of the bend.
Little booger. When I want straightness, he curls around; when I want a bend, he fights to be straight. Grrr ... When I saw what he was doing, I paid a lot more attention to the inside rein, lifting it when I felt him duck under.
The second part to confirming the bend was to be more effective in lifting the outside shoulder. When I felt him bending, JL had me rock the outside rein to lift his front end. I was surprised to hear, More! Huh? Apparently, Speedy can handle a much more assertive outside rein. She was right, of course. Once I firmly rocked the outside rein in rhythm to his stride, he got lighter and quieter. As I was working the outside rein, I had to be aware of maintaining the inside bend, too, without letting him duck behind the contact. Talk about walking and chewing gum at the same time!
Once that was going well, we worked on the 1-loop serpentine. This is a fun exercise that brings together a lot of different skills. JL had me go back to a standard figure 8 so that I could rebalance Speedy in the straight part where the two circle meet. She had me really slow his outside shoulder as we straightened so that I could begin to move him sideways before actually making the next turn. The point of the exercise was to fix any crookedness that he had without letting his shoulder drift out.
Once I had a better feel of the straightness and moving sideways, I returned to the loops of the serpentine. Ah - much better! The trick to getting the new bend is to slow down the outside shoulder (ultimately just a half half), get him moving away my new inside leg, and then establish the new bend. Once we broke it down into those three parts, the serpentine became quite easy!