Things went surprisingly well considering we hadn't ridden in a week! I got on about 15 minutes before my lesson time so we could warm up and not be too wound up. It was windy, so of course he was a little looky, but not too bad. There wasn't a lot going on to distract him.
As usual, started with our trot circle, and we made it small enough that he had to have a bend through his body. He did well to the right but was pretty resistant to the left. He really didn't want to bend through his ribs or look in the circle. I usually just need to do a little wiggle with the inside rein and press with my inside leg to get him to do it, but today J had me do a strong one or two second pull/ask and then release. And when I say strong, it's not like I'm yanking him over, more like I'm closing my fist. It's stronger than usual but usual is pretty light, so it felt different. But we had to keep coming back to that because he really didn't want to bend. I've heard that this can mean that his outside (right) muscles are tighter so it will take repetition and stretches to help him loosen up, so I need to start doing carrot stretches more frequently.
Our canter today was nice! Especially the up transitions, he just really stepped into them, no running or disorganization. Down transitions were not as nice, he got heavy a couple times - this also happened a lot in the trot. J reminded me that this is why I need to make sure I keep working really hard with him on the transitions within gaits and shortening his stride. He got better as we went but still was pretty heavy. It will get better with time and practice. She also said that he likes to get heavy and fast and that I don't always try to stop him, so I need to be much more deliberate with telling him "hey, I know you're ready to go but you can't just take me along for a ride". To make sure I sit back and that I am the one driving instead of letting him autopilot. He's pretty forward which is good but I need to start working on asking him to shorten stride and put a little more weight in his hind end instead of plowing along with long strides but on the forehand.
We ended the lesson with working on our leg yield/haunches in along the long sides. He does pretty nicely to the right, actually had some nice moments when our coordinations all came together and we were on a bit of a roll, we were even able to do it at the trot! To the left is a lot harder, and we did it at trot and walk but it was much stickier and not as much angle or bend. Again, just something to keep working on. This exercise requires him to do a slower trot too, but still with energy so it will be a good one to work on.
Our lesson finished just in time before the rain started. Good timing! The rain has stopped as of now but apparently we have a super storm headed our way, which is super frustrating because I have extra time off this week and was hoping to ride the next couple days in a row. Maybe it won't be as bad as they're saying but we'll see. I'm so glad I got to spend some nice time with my ponyface though!