I never know what to write. :) I've been working on Ava's tension issues for the past couple of weeks. She has a tendency to stiffen her neck and back... which defeats the whole idea of dressage. So I've been trying different techniques on her that I've learned in lessons and clinics. One of those was when she became strong and inattentive was to bounce the rein (as hard as required to get her to set back). I'm not talking a sharp jerk, just a one second heavy contact and release. Well, I realized that only works if you don't drop her afterward. I was bouncing with a full release afterward. I tried thinking of it more as in a rubber band type of release while still keeping a feel of the bit. The idea of just slightly opening the hand with a reminder from the seat leg to go forward. That really helped! It took about 4 of those at the very start of the ride and she progressively got softer and rounder. She was like butter at the end! It felt so cool. I believe this worked for my mare because she tends to get anxious when she feels like she's falling forward. The combination of maintaining more consistent contact (not dropping her) seems to settle her. While the leg reminds her to keep her weight more balanced toward the rear. On a side note, I was having issues with circles and losing the outside rein control. I don't know why it didn't occur to me until half way through my second 10 meter circle, but suddenly it dawns on me "Counter flex her stupid". And bam, straightened her right out and we finished with a very nice second half. I remember riding as a kid and getting frustrated so very often because I couldn't figure out how to fix something. It just seems like its easier now that I'm an adult. My body makes it harder, but my brain is better. I wish I had it both. Ha!