We started out at a walk with me reminding him to carry himself. Lois called me on allowing Sydney to bump, bump. bump the bit in my hands so I paid particular attention to that. I was still following with my elbows, but I resisted when he tried to bump the bit. Hmmm ... that was definitely a new sensation.
My only plan for the ride was to do the counter bent trot circles. Sydney picked up the circle to the left very quietly and willingly followed as I asked him to to do the counter bend. We spiraled in slowly and then changed to a correct bend and spiraled back out. Easy as pie.
I let him walk for a few moments and then picked up the trot to the right. He already felt more balanced than he has in the past few weeks. Once the 20-meter circle was established, I moved him into a counter bend and felt the stiffness in my left hand and leg. It takes a lot of leg and a firm half halt to get him to move off his right leg. I just focused on slowly making the circle smaller and smaller until we hit the 10-meter mark.
I kept him in the circle for a few moments and then slowly returned him to a normal bend. I moved him out onto the bigger circle and was overall pleased with his balance.
The longer I practice dressage, the harder it gets. Every time I think I am getting somewhere, I realize how much farther I actually have to go. Rather than getting closer, the end seems to be drifting out of sight.
It's hard not to be discouraged by that.