Originally Posted by RebelsRose
gets bored very quick, ... constantly playing at the bit shaking his head and flipping it around with his tounge,
Sounds a smart horse! If he gets bored easily, you might need to mix things up a bit more, do different things, include challenges & new stuff regularly. I agree that with a 'mouthy' horse, a bit with rollers or keys might be good for him, as well as having one with tongue relief - a big 'port'.
he also has a nerve racking habit of pulling at the bit when I am half halting him ...I have his whoas perfect at the walk and okay at the trot but he refuses to whoa sometimes at the trot and deff. at a canter, the thing is I love his canter but sometimes I dont feel safe
Yep, riding a runaway can make you feel a little unsafe!
Perhaps this is due to inconsistent or confusing contact on the bit? Perhaps in your fear of being too heavy handed on the bit you aren't being assertive about it? But perhaps the trot/canter problem is to do with pain. Often saddle pain for eg. is bearable at a walk, but hurts them when going faster, so they can resist any further pressure you put on them.
If you've ruled out pain, I would continue to teach him in the same manner that you've taught him at a walk, using gradually increasing aids - start as soft as possible, but go to as firm as necessary to get a response. Keep your end goals in mind, but accept & reinforce whatever you get along the way & only gradually build it towards perfection.
I also would be getting him good at the trot before stepping up to the canter. I would start out in an arena or some enclosed area too. This will also allow you to ride on a loose rein & *ask* him to stop, rather than having to attempt to make him stop because of safety worries.
How do I get him more collected? I need a slower, softer canter, where he is relaxed as well as me....I have heard I need to have him set his head somehow what is this about?
Forget headset. Collection comes from the hind end, from self carriage and balanced, correct use of hindquarters. The 'headset' should come automatically as a result of this. To help him learn, lots of 'passenger lessons' & riding on a loose rein, lots of half halts, backing up, hill work, obstacles... If his saddle or something is uncomfortable, he might also be physically unable to 'collect'.
...Anyway, I train him and dont let him slip up at all because with him if I do let him 'Get Away' with something it always seems to become a habit for him.... haven't just went for a ride to let us both just relax for a few months now,
It takes way more than once to create a habit. If you mistakenly reinforce(reward) something, then that will make him more likely to try it again - they do what works & quit doing what doesn't work - but if it doesn't work for him again, the behaviour will go away. Especially if you can positively reinforce a conflicting desireable behaviour.
I'd be more concerned about him becoming frightened of making mistakes, or being micromanaged & unable to think for himself.
I also think it's important to do way more Good Stuff with your horse than Bad Stuff, or Work. I would personally make a point of getting out for a relaxing walk or whatever way more than just occasionally. However, if you're sure he really does enjoy & is relaxed about what you're doing, you might just want to break the monotony by the occasional trail ride & adding some obstacles & other interesting & fun stuff in the arena.