Yesterday I dragged my husband to the barn with me. His job was to install fans in the girls stalls. He did a great job getting Rosie's high enough that she should not chew the top off it like she did last year.
I talked him into letting me have an hour to ride Bonnie. I was very please with MY performance. I asked Jim to watch my hands and he said he noticed a marked difference. Much less movement and stiffness. He said the word "natural" to him. Now keep in mind he's not a horse person so he was comparing from previous rides.
I used no contact on bit, pushed with my seat and balance until she went round and through with the hind end. Then I made contact just until my belly muscles engaged. I was very happy that I was able to do this reliably almost every time I tried.
I think I've had a break through!
After that I wanted to go for a short trail ride. Bonnie was trimmed yesterday and he did bring her up a bit shorter then normal, but she's had LOTS of hoof growth. In the arena sand she was not tender at all, but she took a step onto the drive way and she very clearly told me her feet were sore and could we please walk on the grass.
I turned her around and went back to the barn letting her pick her path.