Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
What you might have felt was "contact" - not leaning. While horses DO balance on their own, they're also taught to accept the rider's contact, so they don't duck behind the bit, but rather work on contact, which to some feels like they're pulling. A well trained horse doesn't pull though, they simply maintain a steady contact with the bit.
As well, perhaps you are riding a well-schooled horse that has become dead to the aids, that is, doesn't "go fast when you kick" because it has just been dead-sided from beginners riding it without finesse (and no, I'm not taking a stab at you, you find it in most schoolies).
The trick to getting them un-deadened is to employ an "ask, tell, demand" system. First ask them nicely to go forward - that is, use your calves and squeeze lightly on the horse's barrel, and you can use your voice to cluck at him as well. If there is no response, "tell" the horse to move forwards - give a kick and get more aggressive with your voice. If there is still no response, then let all heck break loose and DEMAND he move forwards; use a whip, use spurs, whatever. Of course reward by taking the pressure off as soon as he does what you want.
If you're new to riding, then your instructor probably put you on a well-schooled lazy horse for good reason - they want to be able to teach you without worrying that the horse is going to take off with you. As you progress you'll get horses that will test you a little more.
I know when I teach beginners I put them on really lazy but well schooled horses - to the point where I sometimes have to stand in the middle of the ring with a lunge whip to help the student out.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com