A little background I have a nine year old OTTB a little arthritic but very much improved, he has little training in dressage, but my trainer and I during my lesson last night were trying to teach him to flex his poll and give into contact.
Of course at first he thought I was trying to halt him or back him up because I usually and embarassingly ride him on a loose rein (hey I used to ride western leave me alone lol) anyway, this is how she taught me...
I get him at a walk and I keep firm contact on the reins (no slack and a bit of pressure), elbows bent, sitting up straight and the first thing I do to ask for it after I've shortened my reins and put the pressure on, making sure my arms arent lying on his neck but a little higher (to not confuse with the backing up aid) is to then squeeze/bump him into the contact, if nothing then to start "massaging/turning the car key" the reins in my hands, not jerking and not pulling but more like trying to flex his neck left to right slightly... and this worked for the most part because he started chewing and would lower it... and then once he did that she said to not release the pressure but to keep squeezing/bumping him into the pressure once I felt the release... this would work for a little bit but then he would slowly start lifting his poll again after a few strides or when we are turning in a corner
I have to say though my boy was trying so hard to figure out what I was asking for and he did so, obediently, a little fussy at first but an A+ for effort after chewing and feeling the release a couple times *which is all I wanted for a first attempt at this*.. But I was wondering are these steps correct?
My trainer says because he has no muscle in his neck and bc we never did this kind of training before, its hard on him and may make him sore. Should I practice this only a couple minutes a day? Every other day?
Please opinions, suggestions, whatever works for you! I am curious! And Love this because he moves so much smoother and is more engaged when I have him focusing and responding to me like this!