Yesterday was another good lesson day. In typical Gus fashion, he was EXTREMELY stiff and lazy to get going but once sufficiently warmed up, he was moving fairly fluidly.
The lesson was a repeat (minus the cavalletti) from last week. We started off really working on getting Gus to move down and out, but not necessarily forward - or as forward as we'd like him to normally be. So, we began with three loop serpentines working on strictly flexion and giving to the bit in his jaw. I was instructed to not let go of the reins (ie loosen my contact) until Gus gave. It's amazing how much more responsive he became to the more subtle commands. B kept after me about my hands, as I kept giving and taking, without really getting any response from Gus. Like I told her though, it took YEARS to develop this bad habit, so it'll take a while to undo the damage.
We also worked on leg yields from quarter line to the rail at the trot, in an almost tear-drop like pattern. Meaning once we reached the rail we did a 15m circle and repeated the exercise. Trot work also included working on big figure-8s, getting Gus to really bend and flex at X, where the transitions occurred. We also did 1 loop serpentines, with a 10m circle back to the rail at X. Those really made Gus concentrate on bending and flexing in the correct direction.
In the canter, we again worked only on counter canter. B really feels that making him worked just a bit harder at the canter is better then making things too easy. If it's too easy, Gus just has to work that much less and is quicker to offload weight from his hind end... and it's in his hind end where we want him to be carrying more weight, not on the front. So, off we went on the counter canter. Very easy counter canter, just big ovals, but that made Gus really work on stretching down and out. Gradually we'll work on making Gus work in a more correct frame at the canter, but for now he just needs to maintain the canter (not switching leads - found out we do have a flying change hidden in there after all) and stay off his forehand.
So, my plan is to keep working on the same stuff during my own time. Maybe trying to toss in some 1 loop serpentines at the canter? We'll see. Definitely happy with the progress thus far.