Riding Lena is a constant learning experience. Constant. I just read a short blurb in Western Horseman magazine from Linda Parelli where she talks about ways they've altered their training methodologies a little in regards to softening the face. It was heartening to read an expert saying that sometimes you have to change things up a little as you learn.
We are definitely learning. I like what Parelli says about using your butt and legs first - though I think she said it nicer - and hands/reins as the last resort. Both Steve and I have been doing that with Lena already, mostly because it seems to work better with her. The more you pull on her face, the more she wants to fight you. And that's just not a battle to get into with 1,200 pounds of stubborn, opinionated, muscle. Well, you can try, but nobody will win.
Pictures and video can help, too. Like this one of me, where I'm sitting up straight but my feet are somewhere up north - using Lena's head as North, of course - of where they should be. Not to mention my toes, which are pointed northeast and northwest.
At least my heels are down! I also don't look particularly relaxed, though I do look balanced. I'd like to work on softening my hips, getting a little more movement and roll in my pelvis, with less stiffness in the leg.
It's like learning to dance with a whole new partner. In this case, though, it's okay for me to lead.