Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Seat - it isn't as easy at a canter, but it is still my first signal. Twist a little, and I tend to lean into the turns a bit at a canter. Everyone tells me that is wrong, but my horses seem to respond. I'm not talking 20 deg of lean, but maybe 5 deg.
Also, leg pressure - if he is trained to respond to it at a walk & trot - still works. Bump his shoulder. Shove his rear may help...if I want to go left, and he isn't responding, I use my left leg about 3-4 inches back to move his hip to the right. Worst case - the one time I've done it was on a bolting horse - grab the horn, lean back, and kick him HARD in the right shoulder with my heel to turn him left.
Are you capable of turning his head by brute force? If so, then turning his head more can sometimes help. I get nervous, tho, because too much can throw a horse off balance.
If need be, go back to a bit. They are not cruel, and give you more control of the nose vs the entire head. I do 80% of my riding with a sidepull halter, but I think training with the bit helps the horse. The 10-20% of the time using the bit keeps them tuned up.
Finally, if he is defying you, work him at a trot. DO LOTS of turns, and make them small enough that he is working at the trot. That is good for his balance, flexibility, and responsiveness.
... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)