I'm a beginner rider. I do believe what Cherie said in her thread is the essential truth: every time we mount a horse, we're teaching them what we expect from them and what we're willing to take.
I'm learning and I'm a good beginner, learning to exert control of my horse by foot and seat. I guess my weaknesses at this point are maintaining my body and mind during canters and overall hands and feet skills in certain exercise like tight hind and front turns and I'm working hard on staying calm minded.
So here's my question:
Later this summer I will be riding the mare I rode last summer at a dude ranch. She a fine girl, stoic, calm and powerful - a Belgian draft. But she dives for weeds. This is dangerous on a downhill slope. And it's distracting.
It could be she just said the heck with it, this woman doesn't know how to ride and she can't stop me. At that time I didn't know how to ride at all. I had taken a couple of lessons before the trip so I wouldn't make a complete fool of myself (looking at the videos I realize I knew less than nothing). On her side I was told she has a hard mouth because she has riders who don't know how, all summer handling her reins like a steering wheel. And no one's teaching anyone how to ride at a dude ranch.
The wranglers told me to pop her so I did. She didn't care. To kick her - nope. She continued chomping. Personally I wasn't comfortable with that way anyway. I don't want to go to war with a horse...that's ridiculous. So they put a feedbag on her and obviously that stopped the diving. But is that the only way to control this sort of behavior? Isn't it disrespectful of her to ignore my requests? Or is it just how it is with dude ranch horses? How can I work with her? Or can I?
I'd like to reintroduce myself as she may or may not remember me so maybe we'd have a fresh start. I will only have a week but I have long stretches with her...twice a day for long climbs. There are trot and canter rides too, which I'd like to try with her. But I won't if she isn't taking direction by foot. I don't want to learn bad habits riding her either. I'd like to work on some skills if possible.
Bottomline: I want to ride her because aside from her stubborn determination to behave as if she is at a buffet, she is calm and good natured. She is the horse I fell in love with riding because of. She did trot for me, although when she felt like stopping she stopped. Ugh!
Does anyone have any advice for me or am I hoping for the moon?