So now that he's been in training, and is so much more fit, he really is a joy to ride both on the flat and over fences.
However, here's my problem:
He's kinda' got my number when I try to get him to move off my leg. I ask him to collect and extend his trot a little bit, but he tends to just poke his nose out and continue to plod along unchanged. I will pony kick him with my legs and I will get a momentary reaction, but he seems pretty unimpressed by actual "kicking".
His canter is really nice and adjustable. I can get him to collect and keep a nice hunter canter, or I can get him to give me a little more and hand gallop along the long side of the arena, and come back quiet on the short side.
Truth is, I tired using a crop once with this whole trotting issue. I didn't even touch him with it. NOT ONCE! But he was so worried, and so upset by the fact that I was even carrying it, that he was all strung out and a worried mess the whole time we hacked! So no more of that.
What is something I can try to get him to move off my leg more without the aid of spurs, crops, or dressage whips (omg he would have a melt down!). I would effectively like to whisper my aids... not scream them at him.
Just not entirely sure how to do that!