Noobie questions about horse behavior
I have recently started taking hunt-seat lessons. I like the stables a lot - the lessons started with grooming and hoof-picking, which is great because I think I might want to have my own horse some day and need to know how to take care of them. I actually really like the grooming part, even the hoofs. I am pretty sure these horses know that I am a total rookie, though!
My first question is this: sometimes when I am leading the horse into the ring (prior to mounting and riding) he will just plant his feet and stop. He does not slick his ears back or anything. It looks more like "Oh, you mean I have to WORK now? Boo."
I'm not really sure what is the most effective way to deal with this. I think it doesn't make a lot of sense for a 180lb two-footer to get into a tugging match with a 1,500lb four-footer. What I have done if I have gotten a little ahead, I go back to his head and give him a little Talking-To. Tell him not to be silly, time to work, etc. And then I just step out with the assumption that he's going to follow along. So far it has worked, but I don't know if I'm just lucky.
So when you're on foot, leading a horse, and he doesn't feel like going where you want him to go, what's the best way to deal with that?
My second question is this: this horse does a lot of yanking on his bit. I responded to this by letting some slack into the reins. The instructor said that it is not because I am holding the reins wrong, she said it is because he knows there are inexperienced hands on the reins and he thinks he can get away with it. She made me take the slack back up.
This is actually a couple of questions:
What is it that makes hands experienced vs. inexperienced (other than experience, right...I mean, what is the difference to the *horse*)?
What should I do about this tossing? Is that something that I just need to put up with? Or is there something I ought to be doing to discourage it?
It startles me a little bit. I do not yet know how to know when he is going to do it. If I am holding the reins where the instructor wants me to, and he yerks his head down, it pulls my hands forward.
(I don't have a problem asking my teacher these questions - I just didn't think of them at the time, and I don't have another lesson until later in the week.)
Thanks for any insights!