I second the person who said get a dressage/schooling whip. Crops are useless except when jumping. Hitting the shoulder when the horse is already tending to go backwards will send it backwards faster, not forwards.
Lack of balance in the canter transition, but the rest is pure disrespect IF you are indeed being told the truth about this horse. I will say it once - RESPECT IS KEY. Horses are dangerous enough when they're behaving perfectly, why make it worse for yourself by allowing a horse to get away with disrespect? You ask for forward, you GET forward, NOW.
I start with a very soft aid - a whisper, if we're speaking in human metaphors. That can be as simple as a wiggle of a finger, or the lightest touch of a heel. Then I move up to a moderate aid, an ask. And then a strong aid, tell. A boot with all my strength in the ribs, demand. And finally, whip or spur or both - promise.
The whisper is a quiet "please oh pretty please will you?". The ask is "please?". The tell is (using walk as an example) "walk". Demand "walk NOW". Promise "YOU WILL WALK ON RIGHT NOW OR ELSE".
I never have to get beyond "please?" with my boy now. I started off having to go right the way up to the promise, and the trick is to have a REALLY good final phase because you don't HAVE anywhere to go after that so it HAS TO give you the result. But timing is key, you release the pressure AS SOON AS the horse gives you what you want. Otherwise you're abusing the horse because it doesn't understand what you're trying to teach it.
I have been accused of abuse several times before, by the "omg soft pretty please will you? no? ok" types mostly who allow their horses to walk all over them. But the results speak for themselves, my gelding is soft and willing and has BEAUTIFUL manners with absolutely no fear whatsoever, and my filly (who I mouthed myself) is beautiful and light when I longline her, and has perfect manners - again with no trace of fear.
You have to throw away your care of what OTHER PEOPLE think of you, to be able to successfully regain the respect of a horse once you have lost it. You do need to start gentle every time or the horse will never learn to be truly soft, BUT you do need to be able to be very firm, even harsh, if necessary. Do whatever it takes to get the result you want, and the horse will very quickly learn to respond to a softer aid, because it's much more pleasant to be gently touched (or not at all) than to be hit with a whip.
Last edited by blue eyed pony; 06-24-2012 at 10:15 AM.