Today's lesson was a huge improvement. We started out walking on a loose rein while Karin and I talked about how things have been going. I talked to her about how I feel like we fight for the first 30 minutes of the ride and how it is hard to get him to give to the bit at first. We started the lesson at the halt, asking him to give to the bit and to flex to the inside. We asked him to do this and flex and give deeper until he was soft through his whole neck and light in my hand. After he was soft and round I could ask him to walk. If he braced and came up, we halted and tried again- asking him to go deep and really give until he was light and holding himself. After a few tries he started walking off without bracing. From that point, he was awesome. He never tried to come up at the walk and was light in my hand. We didn't have any tug of war about contact and him being on the bit instead of inverted and bracing. I had a light and giving contact and was able to maintain his roundness with very slight cues from my fingers. We got him to walk out and really reach with his back legs, it was a very nice walk. We walked for probably 30 minutes of the lesson because of how good it felt. We worked on getting that feeling and keeping it. When we moved up to the trot, he started to brace at first, but I brought him back to the walk, then halt to get him round and light again. After that, the trot work was much better. He wasn't as round as at the walk, but he was still light in my hand.
Even though we were asking Boomer for a much more intense stretch at the walk he was capable and was very light. He really gave 100% and Karin was very pleased that he seems to really be confirmed at the walk. At the trot, he is mostly there, but still has moments where he wants to come up. Most of those moments could be fixed at the trot, but some needed us to go back to the walk or halt to fix. As for the canter, we are still working on spending as much time as possible in the canter without breaking to the trot. After I feel that he is alert to my leg at the canter, I can start to take a little inside rein and start to ask for a bend as long as he stays up in the canter.
Also, Boomer didn't really root or pull on the reins today. He seemed to be very willing to stretch forward and down when I allowed him a 'stretch break' every 5-10 minutes.
This was by far some of the best work we have done and I was just so pleased! Of course, everyone loves to receive compliments on their horse and I got two today! Karin commented on how Boomer has a really wonderful walk, which she hadn't expected from a horse his size! Another boarder commented to me how great he looked today and how he looked so light. That really made me feel great!