Here is my attempt at brief. Oh, wait. Quick explanation. Don't need to say it, I know, but I have been BUSY! But who hasn't been? Raise your hand. I don't see any raised hands, do you?
So very quickly ... tonight is lesson night, unless it rains. Speedy gets to go today. Sydney went last week and JL had us try a few new exercises that were extremely helpful. I already wrote about the flexed neck exercise. The other one was about circling. With my inside hand VERY steady, maybe even planted, I sent Sydney in a circle around a jump. This exercise gave us a reason to circle. All I can say is, WOW! It really worked. With an object to circle, it became much more obvious if Sydney was really moving away from my leg. At first, he was very anxious with a braced neck and raised head. As he started to feel the rhythm of the circle, his head came down and he started to lengthen and stretch. Whenever he offered to relax and walk, we did.
I practiced the same exercise several times over the week and feel that we have a good handle on it. I've even moved on to doing the exercise on a figure eight by circling two jumps. The key is to prepare him for the turn with the inside leg. So far so good.
Speedy will no doubt be continuing with the canter transition tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.