Do not kick a horse to get them to move forward.. squeeze with your calves.. PUSH him forward and as you do release with yourhands to encourage him to lower his head and take longer strides. Horses work best if you squeeze, release... then squeeze again.. get the horse reaching under himself with his hind leg and dropping his head so he can move forward. You get the horse forward before asking for any collection.
At the walk sit up straight and ride him with a long-ish rein and use your legs to push him forward (NO kicking). If he does extend his strde, his head will drop and you will feel the hind leg reach under him.
When he learns to move forward from your leg, then start circles.. use the entire half of the ring and make them round. See if you can get him to 'track up' or get his hind foot to place in the same track as his front foot (not butt in or butt out). In the circle you are looking for a steady and strong inside leg ON the girth and a more active outside leg BEHIND the girth. Use a leading rein to the inside of the circle and relax the outside rein (separate your hands).
When you get this going for you in 1/2 the ring (it will take 1-2 weeks to get him doing this at the walk) start to spiral in toward the center of the circle and then back out. Watch for resistance and support him with your inside leg when you are doing this. Be sure to go equally in both directions.
Keep changing things up. Don't just do one thing. Keep him interested and calm.. doable at the walk.
When you get him moving forward and supple at the walk, start doing the same exercises at the trot....
Training a horse is a Long SLOW process. The horse needs to learn what you are asking and be physically and mentally able to respond.
Only after you get him going forward well do you introduce collections and the half halt....
When someone watches you ride your leg aids to the horse should be subtle.. not overtly noticeable. Kicking is not necessary. If a horse deadens his leg to you, get a long dressage whip and use it immediately behind your outside leg. Usually you can just lay iton the horse and the horse will respond. Rare is the horse that needs you to actually pop him with the whip (tho I have had a few of those!)
I guess I worded that wrong, I didn't mean to indicate that I kick, it definitely is squeezing, not kicking. I do have a crop, but I hate using it. He's gotten to where just having it does the trick and he livens up a bit, I rarely ever actually have to use it. Early on, he was lazy from not being ridden in a while and not knowing what to do, so we used it. And he would only canter with one, but now I usually bring it to the arena but leave it on the fence!
Thanks for your input, I'll try those exercises with him!
are part of riding. When he is distracted, have him do something he is very good at doing to take his mind off the distraction. I do not know your area or your skill level but I always rode my horse out alone.. trails and roads and so forth.
Caveletti will help him build abdominal muscles (poles on the ground or up on blocks.. 4 of them.. spaced at first so he can walk through them and then space them so he can trot thru them.. match his strides at first). Remember to let him have his head so he can lower it, stretch out his back and curl his abdomin and pick his feet up hing.
I wouldn't have any objection to riding him alone in the woods, sometimes I think it'd be better that way because he also reacts to what the horse in front of him reacts to. However, my trainer/the barn owner doesn't allow us to ride out alone for safety reasons. We can ride out of the ring within eyesight of the barn though, which includes a ditch that runs perpendicular to the woods, the driveway and a dirt road. I could use that.
I'll start using caveletti to build up his ab muscles, thanks!