So in our lesson tonight, we basically stayed on a circle to the left the entire time. Jen had me start trying to get Buddy soft and bendy by doing some figure 8's at the trot. He was ok, but not great. I was really having to thump him with my inside leg to keep him going. Same thing in the canter. I dropped my inside stirrup to try and thump him and push him out to create the bend. Still not working.
Jen got on him for only the second time in the two years I've had him. She really got after him and boy was he pissed! They duked it out for about 5 minutes with him occasionally giving in. The whole time Jen was cussing him out and calling him names. She had me grab a set of draw reins and we tried again. I hopped on him again, and after figuring out my reins (it's been such a long time since I've ridden with two reins!) we tried again.
I started with the reins loose and slowly started shortening them and asking for flexion. He gave it to me to a point, then decided to fight me. I was able to get him back and we moved up to the canter. He was still pretty fussy, but better. Jen decided to hop back on and took no mercy. Once Bud gave in, they had some beautiful trot work. He was moving forward and really stepping out and Jen was able to loosen up on the draw reins and have a light, quiet contact. His canter was also miles better. He was a little over bent to the left, but he was using his hind end and really driving forward with little effort from Jen.
The plan for now is to keep using the draw reins, but do short 20mins or so hacks mostly at the walk and trot while he builds up his top line. Hopefully he won't fight me as much and I won't have to use the draw reins but we want to make sure he gets the point.