I’ve ridden my two year old colt a few times this summer, just to give him a slight background on what is expected of him next year… I’m not planning on riding him through winter… he’s going to finish growing and just be a horse, then his working is going to begin next summer, I just want him to have something to fall back to…
Anyway, I’ve ridden him bareback and under saddle, never long at all. He’s never taken a bad step, but we’ve had a few arguments. When he’s irritated, he’ll back up and/or sidestep. He’s learning the basics of neck reining (he’s caught on very quickly) and understands leg pressure a little. He doesn’t buck and has never threatened to rear or bite under saddle. It’s easy to saddle him as long as I do it little by little when I’m tightening the cinch and he stands still to be mounted and walks off at a ‘click’ or ‘kiss’. He’ll turn either way and has no fusses, though he hates another horse getting beside and/or passing him. He’ll ride off with or without other horses and doesn’t mind being alone at all.
We’re focusing on just walking, but he has trotted with me three times (never more than just a few strides) and he’s taken off at a canter twice (only a few strides each… he spooked and took off, but stopped easily and quickly).
However, we’ve hit a problem… Dakota apparently hates rein pressure. I’m riding him in a hackamore, and he’s just fine and dandy as long as there is literally no contact with the shanks. I know for a fact that I’m not being heavy handed with him… if I need to turn him, I BARELY pull the side, very, very gently, and lay the opposite rein across his neck while cueing him with my legs to turn. If he feels the pressure of the reins, he tosses his head badly… he’s came very close to hitting me in the face a few times, and I’ve thought about using a tiedown, but I don’t want to if I don’t have to.
I’m kind of at a loss for what to do… I do have a snaffle that I could use on him, but I prefer hackamores… Does he not like the way the shanks of the hackamore tighten around his node and chin and also pulls down across the poll (or whatever any type of bit with longer shanks does to the bridle)… should I try him in a snaffle? Or is there anything else I could do? I’ve also ridden him a little with just a halter and he still tossed his head… am I just going to have to let him work it out that he has to accept it, or is there something that I could do to make him stop?