Having a trainer to keep us focused and push us forward is a tremendous help to Cupid's and my progress. In our lesson this weekend we started out reviewing what we worked on last time, and the trainer said we've made improvement. He even said I was sitting up a lot straighter, yay. We worked on doing a little leg yielding through the turns, first at a walk then trot. Then we worked a trot poles, gradually increasing the distance between them a little to get Cupid to lengthen his stride. He was good at this exercise, though I still need to work on planning ahead to get a straight line in to the poles because I usually turn a little late.
Then the trainer asked me if we've cantered poles. I told him no, because until recently Cupid was a little unbalanced and too hard to maneuver. So he set up two poles a few strides apart. Our first attempt Cupid broke to a trot at the first pole, maybe he just thought we always trot poles so that must be the right thing to do. We tried again and I kept a little more leg on and he did it beautifully! We did it on the right lead a few times, and Cupid was perfect and totally unfazed.
We took a little break, then it was time for the left lead canter. We tried from a trot in a 10 meter circle, and got it wrong. Then Cupid was getting a little fussy - keeping him trotting on the circle until he relaxes a little. The trainer said I need to ask in the corner right before we hit the wall instead of coming out of it. This is a bit of a mental block for me, I'm just more comfortable asking after the corner but he assured me Cupid will not run into the wall or attempt to jump it. It took a few tries but we got it. We couldn't get as nice neat a circle to the left but it's getting better. Then my attention wavered for a moment and Cupid broke into a trot - my fault. And I just let him because I didn't want to ask again and get it wrong. The trainer told me I need to stop thinking like that - and later in the lesson when Cupid broke I asked right away and he picked up the left lead beautifully! We did one pole on a circle to the left a few times, then trotted over the pole and did a figure-8 to canter a right circle in a figure 8 over the single pole. I know I've said it before but Cupid has a great canter, and now it's a bit more controlled but feels powerful.
Cupid was a great boy for our lesson, and he was understandably quite exhausted after!