Lesson with L. last night. Awesome. I love having two instructors; two different perspectives, both great. They teach slightly differently. L. is much more talkative, and T. quieter but more intense in short bursts. Adjusting to them both keeps me thinking, in a good way.
Order of the night was: shoulders in alignment with haunches. It's getting more and more subtle, but Tris still has the tendency to pop his shoulders out and twist his body, overbending and decreasing the amount of work he has to do with his hind legs.
So, outside aids, catch him before he starts, and keep him between four points - two reins, two legs, with everything gathered in my seat. I really felt like my seatbones were doing good work, for the first time in a while, which was great.
Lots and lots and LOTS of leg-yields to work on those shoulders. I started off just aiming for straight; a little bit of bend inside, and not letting his shoulders squirt out to the outside. We went from quarter line to wall, from wall to center line, from center line to quarter line, and basically every time I felt like I had him going straight I tested it out by leg yielding. He was super-responsive in the walk, but took some time in the trot to get as liquid and yielding.
His best moments were the ones in which he felt like he was leading with his haunches. He wasn't, really, couldn't have been, but when it felt like that was my clue that he was really, truly, solidly pushing through from the hind end and carrying with his hocks. Even a couple strides of it were fantastic.
Another problem we're going to have to contend with from now on - now that he's so soft and chewy in the mouth, he over flexes reallllly easily. Solution, as always, is more forward, ride him up into the bridle instead of sucking back from the bridle.
Tonight: I was hoping to work on straightness out on the trails, but it is pouring buckets. I will jump on for a bit - not long - and work on responsiveness. I want to make sure I have the well-behaved horse I hope to have for the hunter pace on Sunday.
Saturday I also hope to hit the trails and fields for some gallop-and-come-back practice just to ease my nerves a bit more.