Kota was a good boy last night and is coming along nicely. His owner came out to ride and see how he was doing. He had a bit of an issue being tied, a first with me so far, and danced much more than I would have liked but under saddle he was very good. Standing while being mounted appears to be installed nicely which was the biggest request of his training. Once we started riding we were able to get real half passes and some actual turns on the forehand and also some turns on the haunches. The owner is anxious to have him sidepass so I need to start working on that now that we have both the shoulders and haunches moving when being asked.
The trot is also coming along with fewer and fewer corrections being needed. I was able to ride one handed and correct him when he would go faster and he responded the first time almost every time. His owner was happy that the neck reining hadn't been "uninstalled" and that he will do some of the things he is learning without holding onto both reins. I did advise that since he is leaving in a couple of weeks these things won't be hard coded in his mind yet, she will need to ride him with two hands for at least another month until he learns his new behaviors as a habit. She seemed okay with that so hopefully she can keep up on the training aspect of it.
I did show her our canter and she was impressed I was able to keep him on a circle as her biggest complaint in the canter is the complete lack of steering. I told her that is due to his being so heavy on his forehand and that he has has zero balance so he has a hard time/is unable to respond to directional requests as he is working so hard to just canter. I suggested to put him on a circle in a field and keep working at getting him to push with his haunches versus his shoulders and that will help him be balanced, once balanced the steering would come easily. I explained the difference in feel and demonstrated it a few times, she said she was able to see when he would dive onto his forehand versus when I would put him onto his haunches and see the difference it made. This makes me happy as I wasn't sure if she could see it and am still uncertain if she can feel it. Hopefully I can get his canter a little more solid before he goes home. I should be able to, I just hope he can keep it. He is, however, pretty good with responding to the canter cue and we were able to get both leads last night. Progress is being made!
At the end of the ride I had her ride him so she could experience some of his new buttons. She was extremely happy with his standing while being mounted and not moving until being asked. It is such an easy thing to teach compared to everything else we have been doing but this is what she was most excited about. Quite amusing IMO. I guided her through a few half passes each direction and then some trotting each direction. She said his trot is 100% better, before he would be so bouncy she would almost fall off if she didn't post. I believe the issue was he was so heavy on his forehand that he was just going fast without balance, thankfully I never gave him the opportunity to show that part of himself to me. I gave her some tips on how to keep him in the "new" trot and that he shouldn't do any other kind of trot for another 60 days so that it becomes habit and he doesn't revert. He needs to build the correct muscles, once he builds them it will be easier for him to trot "good" versus "bad". We finished up with my guiding her through some turning on the forehand/haunches and backing. She seems happy and I hope it makes them partner better. Only 2 weeks left with him!