Thursday, unfortunately, was one of the more frustrating lessons I've had in a long while. The basic flatwork went fine; I can make Roman go to a trot when I want by now, and there weren't too many problems. So most of the time was spent fine-tuning turning and posture, often during two-point. That was no problem.
The problem came when it was time to canter. After he'd tried to buck me off so many times lately, I found I just couldn't bring myself to tap him with the dressage whip. I *knew* he was going to buck, and so I wouldn't do it. Roman can read me at least as well as I can read him; he knew I wasn't going to use the whip, so decided not to put in any effort. As a result, we never even got up to a canter for more than a step or two, and I finished the lesson somewhat frustrated.
Checking the board on Friday, I saw that I was on Roman again. I went in /determined/ not to let there be a repeat of Thursday. We had quite a big lesson -- the four of the previous week, /and/ a newcomer taking his first lesson. We did a lot of flatwork and posture work... and then it came time for the four experienced riders to canter. *ulp*
We tried once. No canter. A second time around. He wouldn't give me the canter. The third time, I gritted my teeth and used the whip. Sure enough, Roman immediately tried to buck me off, but I refused to go. And he grudgingly gave me a canter. Upon changing direction, he'd still canter, but now we were going to the left -- his stiffer direction -- and I could not seem to get him going on the correct lead. Argh!
Finally, on the /very/ last go-round, got him off on the right lead and everything seemed to click. He dropped out of the canter 3/4 of the way around the ring (objecting strongly to the fact that *he* was still working when everyone else had gone into the center), but the instructor said it was the best canter I'd yet had on Roman, in terms of posture and the transition up to canter.
While grooming and grazing the horses afterwards, several of the other students commented they'd been on Roman before and never even been able to get him up to a canter. (I know some students who can't get him up to a trot, admittedly, so this isn't a surprise.) So despite the fact that I felt like Thursday was a step backwards, I left on Friday feeling better about it all.
And Roman, despite being a brat, still got his treats. As did all the usual suspects.
So, we'll see how things go this week at the Thursday lesson...!