How cute =) My gelding gets so frustrated when I sing. I keep quiet. :roll:
You are right about keeping loose reins. Tension in the reins signifies nervousness and tension in the rider. Secondly, pay close attention to how you lean in the saddle. Leaning forward will easily signal to move forward (too forward
) Relaxed legs is also important. When your horse spooks, I would recommend using the opposite leg to leg yield toward whatever they are spooking from and pulling ONE rein (very important the other rein is loopy) towards whatever they are spooking from. Directing them to the scary object shows your confidence and encourages them to gain some of their own. I wouldn't make a huge fuss about the spook. You don't what drama. However, you want to maintain forwardness rather then spooking around. Make sense? I don't think it's always necessary to make the horse sniff and touch the scary object. Some times if you try to pursued a horse to do this, you lose the battle and are set back quite a bit. Contact with the reins are fine as long as it is contact through one rein rather then both. You don't want to communicate tension.
If you are to go through a rather large spook, you can adjust your legs to gain better hold. Say horse spooks to right. I want to shift my weight towards the left side by almost standing in my left stirrup and straightening my left leg. I can twist my hip a bit so my body faces the right and use my right leg to squeeze and remain seated. Your leg almost has a scissor effect, although you can use your right leg to wrap around the barrel of your horse a bit more. The point of this is, as your horse goes right, a large amount of force is going to go against you to the right, making you more off balanced. I would recommend this only when you feel as if you are about to be thrown off. This allows the force of the spook going against you to work in your favor. The move weight you have on the left side, the greater chance you have to fight the force going against you to the right. If the horse then darts forward or bolts, do a one rein stop towards the left. (Pull left rein.) I say left rein in this situation because of centrifugal force. The force of the tight circle will put pressure against your leg side. Weight shifted to the left side will counter balance and help you from being thrown to the right.
Hopefully that was understandable?