On Thursday H came out and I took my first lesson on Mia. H was quite impressed with how Mia looked, she had gained a good bit of weight since H had seen her last. I hopped on and I told H the story about getting her and what I have been doing with her. How I am taking things really slow with her to lay a very firm foundation that, hopefully, has no holes so things will be easier as we progress. H saw fairly quickly Mia's current weak spot, her shoulders. She loves to drop her inside shoulder and plow along instead of keeping herself upright as she makes a turn, something I have been slowly working on.
After some warmup H had us start doing exercises to fix that shoulder, H called it "ice-capades", do as slow of a trot as you can get and then make as small of a circle as possible. Keep your outside rein firm and fixed and make Mia bend to the inside. As soon as she holds it herself, give her a release to encourage her to keep the frame herself. Overall it wasn't a bad exercise. I wouldn't want to do it for long periods because of how small of a circle we stay on, however Mia responded pretty well with it and was staying much more upright by the end of the ride. Success!
After some walk/trot transitions we figured we might as well try to canter under saddle, something I hadn't yet done. I didn't expect anything bad out of her, Mia just is rather forward and very unbalanced. H set a pole down on the ground for me and after trotting over it a couple of times, I verbally and physically asked for the canter. She gave a couple of scrambling steps but picked up a pretty nice right lead canter. Of course, by nice I say there wasn't any bucking/leaping/killing me because that there also wasn't any of was steering. We made it around the circle the first time but the second? She came so close to the arena wall her whiskers brushed the wall. H said she was so concentrated on what she was doing, she didn't look at where she was going and, of course, had completely blocked out what my rein and leg were saying. At the very (very!) last second she adjusted course and just my boot hit the wall. Oh baby horses. After that attempt I rode with a much stronger outside rein and fought to get the turn a quarter of a circle ahead of time with fairly good success.
Thankfully the left lead is much, much easier and while we still had the huge, unbalanced canter, we also had about 70% steering where the right lead had maybe 20% steering. After several canter transitions we called it done as Mia is certainly not in good enough shape yet to have a full hour lesson with H. H really liked her, she really liked her movement and said Mia will be very eye catching in the ring. She has a lot of front end movement and a lot of hock action on top of her chrome hind legs. I am glad things worked out the way they did, getting a third horse seems to be working out quite well.