On Tuesday I had a fabulous ride on Dakota. He was relaxed, focused, and feeling completely confirmed in walk and trot. I'm starting to sit the trot for thirty seconds at a time, too. He has a very comfy trot to sit.
Things were going so well I decided to see if I could get a canter to the right under saddle. My routine for this sort of thing is to, first, add a grab strap to the saddle. (Actually, I always ride with one. It's great for working on snugging yourself down in sitting trot, especially in lengthenings.) I establish a twenty-meter circle in trot with a solid outside rein. I allow a little slack on the inside rein and hold the grab strap with the inside hand. Then it's go go go with the canter aids. At first I don't care if the horse runs and falls into canter. Whatever works. I didn't quite get the canter with Dakota, but boy, were we close. He stayed on the circle like a good boy and didn't do anything silly. I gave it three tries and then let him walk for his efforts.
The almost-canter fired Dakota up, so after he stopped puffing I went back to trot and asked for some lengthenings. He liked that! Even better, he sat his little fanny down like a champ in the downward transitions. Such a good guy!
As I cooled him down in walk, I asked for a few leg-yields along the wall, and those are coming along so well. Pretty soon I'll give it a try in trot.