BILL: The exercise is a decent one, but the underlying problems are twofold. Travers is mainly complicated because after all that time of teaching the horse to move away from the leg he’s bent around, now all of a sudden he has to move into that leg. Suggestions:
1. Be sure he’s good at turn on the haunches with a correct bend from your leg. This will let you “push and catch,” alternating your individual aids in the sequence that will help each part of him go where it’s supposed to with the correct shaping. It also let’s you catch him immediately every time he begins to go wrong.
2. Apply that very same “shape-yield-reshape-yield” idea in super slo-motion at the walk. Do it out in the open away from the wall, more like a half pass idea. Each time he collapses onto his inside shoulder, reshape, go forward in a touch of shoulder in, and then move over again.
3. Tiny bites at a time. Even at the Spanish Riding School, you would see them teaching the horses with the circle, a step or two of travers, a new circle, another step, a circle and so on.