"Finishing" A Green Broke Horse
I have a 5 year old gelding who I suppose is technically "green broke". Before I adopted him from the animal shelter I work at he had never been trained to do anything past accepting a saddle, responding to a bit and walking in the direction he was pointed in. I use him exclusively as a trail horse riding through the woods and dirt roads in the area I live in. We spend 2-3 hours a day together. Most of what I have actively been working with him on since I got him is desensitizing him to all the things that a horse might see while riding on the trail, and have been successful. Every day I see progress in his reactions and behavior, and I am very proud of him. :)
I am not a particularly experienced rider, but I have absolutely no trouble with my gelding. He is a good, quiet horse who never gives me any trouble past what I consider normal for any horse - spooking in place or at the most taking a quick steps before stopping when he sees a scary, horse eating water sprinkler or something like that. He has decent ground manners and pays attention to the cues I give him while I am in the saddle. I try to use the minimum amount of pressure to get him to respond to me, and we seem to understand each other quite well. However, as I mentioned I am not a particularly experienced rider, and my horse is not what most would consider a well trained horse. One might argue that he is very well trained for what I want him to do, which is ride at a walk or slow trot on trails, but I feel like I should be teaching him more. That is where I have questions. What should I be teaching my friend in order to transform him from "green broke" to "well broke"?