The feedback we got at the jumping clinic was that Izzy needs to accept the bit and be more forward. Since that seems to be a theme for us, today we pulled out the dressage saddle and got to work.
Izzy started out pushy and even a little tense. She's going through a phase where she'll have a decent walk, but when I pick her up and ask for trot, she tries to fling her head up in the air and run on her forehand. I'm not really sure where this is from; it gets better if we work on it, but I haven't gotten it to go away yet.
Another issue I'm working on is getting my hands out of my lap, holding a steady contact, and riding Izzy into it. Conveniently, all these things seem to be tied together. When I hold a steady contact, the pony mare is able to trust it and balance on it, which smooths the transition. Even if she does attempt the head-fling-and-run, by holding the contact and stopping her with my body, I am refusing to play her game and focusing on the issue: the balance.
Finally, when cantering, I have apparently over-packaged and over-rebalanced her stride to the point that she doesn't really come under herself and balance. Instead, she has some sort of weird up-down motion. Whoops. That's what I get for only sort of knowing what I'm doing and sporadically working with trainers. Today, we focused on letting Izzy develop a lovely big canter and really carry herself around. While she did that, I tried to keep a steady contact, maintain my posture, and let her find her own balance.
All in all, I'd call it a good day. We started rough, but she (we) improved as we went along. At the end of the ride, she was pretty comfortable with the contact and was able to maintain a nice balance at all three gaits. Not fancy, but good. Hopefully someday I'll have another dressage lesson. This would all be easier if it was free, right?