Thank you for the thoughtful replies!
Crimson and Klassic - I completely understand what you mean. Every horse is going to be different and I will keep that in mind when I'm frustrated for taking more time on one horse or another. I ride my own horse and several others so that is definitely part of the equation for me. Will work on more transitions too.
Corporal - I enjoy off the wall approaches! I would totally take a ballroom class, I will look into it.
Anabel - YES. Several issues in your post that sound like me, and not closing my fist tightly enough is one of them. I find myself with much looser rein than I started while I'm trying to be soft. Its been an odyssey for me to trust that pounds in my hands can still be soft and correct. I so badly want to let the tension go and give, but this is when I abandon the front end. I don't even realize I'm doing it until after the damage is done.
Jumper - Oh I don't doubt for a second that there are more talented riders out there than me who can feel on their own naturally. But I don't know how those of us who have to work on it are supposed to know what we are looking for if someone isn't coaching. For instance, there are times when I know something is wrong or not working properly but I can't pinpoint what it is. Trainer will then tell me what is wrong - lets say the hind end is swinging out - and then I make note to learn what it feels like when the hind end is swinging out. After that I know how to correct it and get where we need to go.