Today I have a small issue. Specs is kinda hard mouthed. It kind of depends on the day, and he is pretty much always barn sour, but I'd still like to get him to be softer!
I think stubbornness is most of the problem. We don't have an arena, so we always just ride on the dirt road by the barn or the field by the barn. It takes a LOT of effort on my part to get him away from the barn. I'll cue him on, and he'll just back-up, nomatter what, so I always end up circling him til he gives up, then continue on. I'm usually the one sweating more than he is.
Yesterday on the dirt road, he threw a little fit, I circled him, then continued on. Once I thought we were fine, I let him run because he hadn't been out in a few weeks, and after 200 meters or so, he stops abruptly and spins around, and thanks to the law of Inertia, I kept going the same way, front flipping over and landing on my head and back. (THANK GOD FOR HELMETS.) Needless to say I'm very sore today.
Anyway, I know it's not all his problem. I need to clean up my riding too. When he gets tense and naughty, I get tense and nervous, and I end up yanking on his mouth more than usual.
Is circling the wrong thing to be doing in a situation like that? It seems to be the only thing that works. I have also noticed him gaping his mouth when I slow him from a run, that's my fault, I think, but there's no other way other than the one rein stop to get him to slow down! I remember my seat cues usually (and I use them a lot,) but I'm not too great with my leg cues, and he doesn't really understand them, so I just don't use them much. I depend much more on the reins and my seat.
Can I have some tips on how to get him to be more soft, and maybe just generally more obedient? Also on how to get MYSELF to not be so hard handed?