Yesterday I took Sam to the indoor again. The amount of rain we have had this week is unbelievable. Sam loaded the best he has ever done. Straight on. Stood there while I put the ramp up and everything. Looks like the training and perseverance has finally paid off. Sam was tense while riding. We started with walk, trot and canter on a loose rein. The moment I took up a contact we had tension issues. So I concentrated on myself that I was weighted evenly through my ankles, relaxed in my seat and legs, let my shoulders drop. We did figures of eights with 15m circles to help bend and soften. I did get 1/4 circles of nice work. Rest, long rein walk. Once Sam warmed up and I think he realised that I wasn't going to bump him hard he seemed to relax a bit more. What I am noticing is that he doesn't really want to take a contact, he seems to be bracing so there is nothing in my hands if that makes sense. So I pushed him out in trot and then using my seat bought him back, I tried that for a bit - no difference. So I did serpintines and tried to get him to stretch down - this helped a little.
With our canter work I worked on our transitions a little more. On the right rein he would quicken his trot and fall into the canter so I took him right back. After a few goes we certainly had improvement. His canter was forward and not sluggish. He felt reasonably light and off the forehand. Change the rein and his left lead he picks up better but with a bigger hop. I wonder if this has to do with not having the strength yet in his hindquarters. Also his stifles.
Poor Sam was exhausted by the end, really falling on the forehand, heavy in my hands. We ended with a lovely swinging walk.
I have a lesson this afternoon with a new person so hopefully she will be able to help me with relaxation while asking Sam to be forward.
PS Sam loaded first go again for the trip home!!!!!!!!