So when I ride my Appy gelding, half the time he would act up and give me real problems while riding. By this I mean he would drop his head to his feet and fight the bit with all his strength. Everyone at the barn would just say, "Well, he's an Appy, they act that way sometimes." I even started believing it myself, and took every ones advice and would punish him, but no amount of punishment would stop this behavior.
Today I got there for my riding lesson, but my riding instructor called to an emergency meeting at her daughters school, so her mother graciously agreed to give me my riding lesson. I was thrilled because Linda was an instructor for over 40 years and one of the most accomplished riders I know. She had me tack up in English tack (I ride Western usually, but ride English during lessons) and head down to the arena to warm up while she helped one of the other girls with her OTTB.
I get down there and he is doing it again, fighting the bit and generally being an ass. I looked at my husband and said, "It HAS to be something I'm doing!!! Last week when I rode western, he was an ABSOLUTE dream."
Linda walked up shortly after and asked what the problem was. I told her that he kept fighting the bit. She asked me to take a lap around so she could observe. I did less than a 1/4 lap and she stopped me. She said, "Ok, the problem is you're moving your hands against his head and slamming the bit into his mouth. Shorten your rein so you can feel his mouth, when his head goes forward your hands should too."
I did as she said and presto! No more problem horse! I even found when I moved my hands it prompted me to move hips with him as well. I felt like for the first time Gaylen and I were one. We just clicked. She even complimented my seat and how "light" I ride. My confidence shot up and my riding improved completely. It was literally the MOST amazing ride of my life.
I almost feel like dropping Deb (my current trainer) and asking her mom to do it. Linda picked up the problem in 30 seconds, and Deb didn't see it 6 1 hour sessions. I'm over the moon right now, but nervous about talking to Deb about this. She is a good friend and I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I just loved Linda's style so much more. :/