Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
I'm afraid he needs to have his flat training revisited. IMO you should spend the rest of the cold weather season working on the flat and asking for perfect manners. Ride lots and lots of half-halts. A good exercise on the flat is walk to sitting trot to posting trot, half-halt to a walk, drive forward to a posting trot. You can interchange the exericse to drive forward to the canter, then half-half trot, half-halt walk, and repeat. I would do lots of transitions and ride spirals where you ride a circle and make it smaller and smaller then ride it larger and larger until it's the original size. Switch reins and repeat.
Work him on the ground, too--perhaps teach him to sidepass on the ground and then work on it under saddle. Don't forget to PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE. I heard this expressed on "Dressage Symposium" this fall (RFD-tv series), suggesting that we punish much more than express our pleasure to our horses.
Pretty much ANY obedience exercises will help your horse bc his problem is disobedience under saddle. The exercises will help him to focus on YOU and your cues without resorting to overriding with spurs and a whip. I think he's too sensitive, judging from your description, and you do NOT want to have a physical battle with him. Iinstead, you need to outTHINK him. =D
The only bit that I can suggest is to ride with a full-cheek snaffle. You probably already own one--if not, every farm supply store sells them for about $20, not a big $investment. If he gets stiff necked he'll still turn with this bit.
Last edited by Corporal; 12-13-2011 at 03:43 PM.