Then we did some canter work. We haven't done much work at the canter, just a few trot/canter transitions. So this was really an evaluation session. Dawn's tendency at the canter is to get rushy and bracey and lean on my hands, using them as a fifth leg. The result of this is that she tends to get on the forehand and have some trouble sustaining the canter. So we did a minimal amount of work in both directions, and did manage to get 3 somewhat softer steps in one direction. She also tends to get pretty excited after cantering, wanted to rush at the trot and also to go back up to canter, so we worked on our relaxation at the trot between canter sets. I was very pleased that, after a moment to refocus, she was able to relax at the trot, soften well and do some nice stretch-down work.
I think that the canter may require working on her relaxation and self-balancing. I'm thinking some cantering where she has to carry herself with minimal rein contact, at a relaxed pace, might help. We can do smaller circles if need be to allow her to rebalance. Then we can go back to our softening work. I'll have to try out that program tomorrow and see how it goes - if it works we'll keep going down that track, and if not, then we'll try something else.
She also wanted to balk when I pointed her down the trail during our cool-down, so I jumped off and led her. She thought she was done, and it may be that she's preferring the arena work. We'll keep working on that as well. I want Dawn to willingly go wherever I point her, but getting in a fight with her isn't a very good idea - it needs to be her idea. We may use some backing and lateral work as a way to get her past her objections by giving her a job to concentrate on.
Now I need to get back to work on post number 3 in the series!