Originally Posted by Beling
I'm not sure what your goal is.
I'm wondering: do you want your horse responsive for everyday riding; or is your goal to influence the way he moves, which is quite a different thing. Working completely off your seat is very cool when riding; but it doesn't necessarily help in strengthening the topline or suppling the joints.
But keep in mind, with an arthritic horse, you have to make sure your therapeutic exercises do not become, in fact, harmful.
I'm also confused about the "higher steps." What's that all about?
I'm not quite sure... Well, to be clear, I ride her in low-level Eventing and I expect her to at least stay in cross country because she is best suited for it. I take her on hacks every day so I want her to be responsive? My main goal is getting her fitter for Eventing, and overall just better toned and connected so that she is less likely to be injured and can hold herself efficiently. When I say higher steps, I mean I want to free up her suspension. She has very good natural suspension and I want to teach her how to use it to the best extent. I can get her to do a lot on verbal cue, but I want to get more by under saddle aids. Just about all my goals are in common with those of Eventing; to achieve a willing, yet independent, fit, flexible mount. A top goal of mine is to get this sucker off her forehand; she's built pretty far down hill and it does hell on her forelegs if I let her drag. I figured using my seat too much wouldn't benefit her joints; I "cheat" and ride in two-point more often in all gaits.
*For the here and now, she's in a bad estrus, joined with fresh grass, so she's a hot tamale! It's light, light contact and neck reining for now with a standing martingale, I'm not messing with her in this mood. Circles aren't good for her, so I have her doing more free jumping to give an outlet for her excitement. I would trot her up hills but I don't have a riding buddy to go out with.