Tiny, you are on the road to developing a light and sensitive horse.
Thankyou. That made my day.
Zulu is not light, yet, but is certainly capable of it. Currently, his owner has kindly been allowing me to ride him free of charge, as I keep him excersized and "loved" on. I dont' have the skill or physical ability to jump him, as he is a dandy but very strong jumper, so I do what I can; building in sensitivity.
Yes, you can build in sensitivity, just as you dull it out.
With regard to Sky's comment about her horse not stopping well when "asked". To me , it sounds like the horse is stopping because you are making him do so, but his mind is not there. He stops, obeying (eventually) her correct body cues. But his mind continues going out there. All I can say to that is that the "ask" might have to get a lot, lot stronger and "un ignorable" for a bit, so that she can start making it less and less and less. But it might get uglier first.
If Sky were running through my stop "asks", I would up them big time until he both stopped and thought back to me, even if he was irritated or upset about it. I would haul on his mouth real hard, or I would bend him around and around until I saw his ear and eye come back to me and could see that he had given up his thought to go forward and was looking back to me for "Now what?"
It's that way the horse looks back to the rider with a "now what?" that tells me his thought has come back to me. Sometimes he wont' go that far, but maybe just flick and ear, or exhale a bit more. It may not be dramatic, and at first I may settle for just intereupting the strength of the horse's thought if he is very hardly focusses on something . LIke, if other horses are running away ahead of him.
This is something I will have to deal with on Zulu. He gets very upset if , when not leadin, the horses canter in front of him. He reacts by bucking, and I mean bucking! So, knowing that I am not a bronc rider and cannot afford to come off (God willing) I am working on getting him to come back to me mentally, frequently and easily.
When it gets harder, I hope that I will have built a pathway and can bring him back to me without too much drama. I don't know, however, how willing I am too test it out.