So ... when I rode Speedy G this week, I consciously focused on bending and softening my elbows. I also started rereading Michael Schaffer's book, Riding in the Moment. The part that resonated with me was the idea of working on one thing at a time. With Speedy G, I get frustrated that we're still not soft, but I ask for other things anyway. On Friday in particular, he just would not soften. Instead, he kept speeding up, falling in, drifting out ... anything except softening. I took a tip from Cha Ching's mom about a good pulley-halt WHOA to say, wrong answer, and tried again. That really got his attention and he started listening. I quit worrying about where he was going, but insisted that he do it softly. Little by little, he softened up and started listening to my aids and got rounder and softer. Once I started focusing on just one thing, the softening, he started to get it.
Memoirs of a Horse Girl also gave me a good tip: for the canter transition move the inside leg forward of the girth, not just at the girth. I've been trying that strategy this last week and Speedy has not bucked at the canter cue. It's not a perfect transition ... yet ... but it's getting better and softer. Thanks, MoaHG!
By the way, does this answer the question of who I'll be riding at the Moorpark Show on July 9th? The answer, of course, is Speedy G. He's not getting off that easily!