Training Liam ~ Transitions

I have been working with Liam consistently since I have been here in Florida. I took him back to the basics and started with rhythm and relaxation. He is an anxious horse and tends to shrink back away from the rider, sometimes jigging in the walk. He is fun to ride but you have to be in a "zen" place to help him focus and channel his energy clearly from the hind. He is the kind of horse that makes a rider feel they can't use their leg because he is too sensitive when actually the opposite is true. If I keep my legs on him with a little pressure when he starts to get tense it gives him the confidence to calmly walk forward rather than wiggle. Now he is relaxing in the walk and I am able to do some lateral work with between a lot of stretching. I work the shoulder-in to haunches-in on the long side with some random square corners and halfpass. Another area that I am really focusing on with Liam is transitions. I have been using treats so he will try harder in the down   transitions. By using my voice along with my transition aids he understands what he needs to do to get a reward. This will make him look forward to the walk rather than anticipating the next time he gets to canter. I want to make him more adjustable, by going between a lengthened canter to a more springy working canter and then to walk, back to trot, back to canter, down to trot, etc. The horse needs to be working through his back for the seat to have complete control over these transitions to make them smooth and effortless. He is becoming more comfortable to sit at the trot as he swings and engages his hind end a little better every day. There is a lot of trot inside of him just waiting to come out! He can do flying changes already but he tends to get a little excited. By reinforcing the basic transitions, some counter canter and lateral work he will be better prepared to do the changes in a more relaxed manner.