I hope your moving goes well, Saskia!
And what lovely mares you have, countryryder! If I was to get myself a paint horse, I'd look for somebody just like them. :)
A barnmate of mine who is a very experienced rider and often gives me good advice, rode Snickers today. She worked on impulsion and flexing laterally & at the poll. We tried an LG bridle on him for the first time (generally works like an English hackamore, but with an option to switch from a softer to a bit harsher leverage). I've been riding him mostly in a rope halter and recently more in a soft English sidepull. Wow, he did so good! He's a passive dominant type and likes being heavy against the type of pressure a sidepull or a rope halter gives, and compared with that he was so much more responsive in a hackamore!
It really reminded on how we work from the ground - if I go for dominant pressure that is steady and gradually just increasing, he becomes heavy and passive. If, on the other hand, I go for leading pressure, giving one slight cue and after that - a quick, precise and light tap to remind him to be with me if he hasn't given me a response, he is overall responsive and light.
My barnmate has given me the chance to use her hackamore until I get mine if I choose to. I've been thinking about a S-hackamore and I really liked how Snickers responded to the leverage, but my flatmate (a dressage rider) gave her 2 cents that I'm doing a typical "let's switch to a harsher bit!" behavior and that he will soon learn to become heavy against a hack, too. So, what are your thoughts? Should I stay with a sidepull if I see that my horse could benefit for a hack, just because switching to something harsher is not the answer, or should I switch for a while, because the harshness is in the hands, not the tools?
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.