Originally Posted by DuffyDuck
Work him, reward good behaviour and make the wrong thing difficult.
At this point in time he is unsure of what you are asking, so you need to give him clear direction.
I would start off left hand, get him relaxed, then ride a few figures on the right hand- 20m circles, one loop serpentines and three loop serpentines, then change back to the left BEFORE he has chance to get himself in to a tizzy. Give him plenty of vocal praise and give the rein fore etc.
Also, right now, IME, I would be working on forwards with him rather than asking him to collect anything. Just work on getting his rhythm consistant and supple through his body on both reins.
It sounds like you're taking things nice and steady for him, and in the end he'll appreciate it.. just don't forget he's bred to run, and cantering may loosen him up in the arena.
Another pointer may be saddle fit, if his muscles are changing, and or back stiffness which are preventing him bending to the right.
Also make sure that you are 'sat' to the inside on the right. Young horses can't balance straight away from outside rein and inside leg, use more inside rein to ask him to bend. Don't bring the rein back, lift it, and use only your outside leg to help direct him, take your inside leg off him and see if that helps.
Thanks for the advice :)
The main reason why I have not insisted on the canter is that we have been waiting for our arena sand to arrive (they started delivering yesterday!) and the ground is hard. I have been paying to use a neighbours arena that is open to the public on donation for our local horse care unit. I have tried a canter or 2 but I found he rushed it and lost balance. Remember he is born to run on open spaces not tight arena corners ;) ha ha! So I took him back down to working at trot mainly. And he does a very good job at it on the left! My walk / halt transitions have been simply to ask him for a little bend before moving forward.
He is a very supple horse, and I find he purposefully bends himself too much and pulls his head down which of course pulls me off balance and it's as if he does it to avoid something if he isnt understanding!
On saturday I started some figure 8's. I did them big and easy and you are right, they werent too bad. Will start the serpentines too.
I am going to be buying a new saddle in the near future. Right now mine fits well but he is going to fill out and then it wont. He has a narrow wither. I had it fitted and the lady told me I can have it broadened by one size temporarily as he grows. She suggested I wait for a while until he has filled out fully before buying a saddle. I would hate to buy it and then he changes again. But I know it is not causing him any discomfort.
It's just a lack of understanding. I must say, many people told me OTTBs are clueless to leg aids, I find him very receptive. I do a lot of hacking out where I try and get him to work properly even though it's pleasure riding and use my aids in an environment where he is relaxed. I then try and take that back to the arena.
Patience is not my biggest virtue in life, but with him I am in no rush and I always end on a good note. If he gets it right once im happy and I leave it there. I set his time as this entire year before trying some training shows. I wont go on to starting jumping until he has a decent groundwork knowledge.
He is very willing to work. The next few months I have budgeted for some lessons with a very good instructor because I am humble enough to admit I cannot do this alone!