Originally Posted by SonnyWimps
the problem with pushing Sonny on with my legs and seat is that he's REALLY sensitive about my cues. And any little thing will drive him faster. So I'm working on desensitizing him a little bit so he won't speed up into a canter when I don't want him to.
I do use half-halts to get him to keep his headset and to maintain a fairly good temp for his gaits
Coming from the perspective of a horse that is very hard to get impulsion from - I do not reccomend trying to desensitize to your legs. His sensitivity just means that you probably don't need spurs or other aids and that you will not have to drive as hard. To achieve the impulsion you need, you should drive him forward to some extent...you just have to work with him that it doesn't mean canter.
I cannot emphasize enough that the serpentines will help with that! If you have a problem with your horse rushing when your drive, or at other times, serpentines will help. Turning small like that (in the serpentines), will pevent him from cantering (unless he is truely collected).
Whatever exercises you use, drive to achieve impulsion and soft, well recieved bit contact are major factors in collection.
Give the serpentines a try and see if you can't keep him from canterng. Also, in the serpentines, you only add drive after you pick up inside rein contact and he doesn't drop his head. Once he drops, you remove drive. From the sound of it, you wont need much drive. You may have to turn you turn into a circle and go round several times before he drops his head though. The more you do serpentines, the more you will notice he picks up a steady, rhythmic, and balanced pace.
AK showgirl rides my gelding, and rides english, where I ride western, and I suggested to her to drive him out of his serpentine turns into more of an extended trot to work on pace variation also. :) That could be fun too.