My gelding is finally in full-work since he was injured and pretty much penned up since March. He'll be my eventing horse but I want him to be especially nice in dressage. I know he can canter and move quite nicely on light to zero contact around a jump course but now since he is out of shape and lost a lot of muscle I found that he leans into my hands a lot when cantering and gets pretty quick too.
Will lunging him and working on his canter-trot transitions in the round pen benefit him a lot and help him get his balance/strength while I work trot-walk-halt transitions under saddle? I really just don't care to canter him under saddle when I know he's just going to be rushy and lay on my hands. All he wanted to do today in the round pen was a quick strung out canter, but then I started asking him to trot half the pen, then canter half the pen, then trot, and his canter became a little nicer. Would this be worth doing 3-4 times a week?
Other than pulling on my hands and trying to canter faster than I'd like, he is doing pretty well at the trot, is light in the mouth, easy to move with my legs, and working on better halts with seat only (unfortunately he was trained to halt by pulling back...oh boy). I've never had to bring a horse back from an injury so slowly before and so I'm *hoping* all this pulling on my hands stuff will go away as he gets the right muscles back in his back and hind end as well as listens to my seat more.
We're also working on turns on forehand/haunches, leg yielding in and out on circles, and just lots of transitions, halts, and backing. Just focusing on the first 3 or so things on the dressage scale and completely ignoring the head but I hate when he pulls.