An article by John Lyons and Keith Hosman
How long should you ride your horse.
A person is able to keep his attention span for about 20 minutes before something else enters his head. The coffee pot he left on will come flying into his head. A saddle sore, his wife, something. So the best amount of time to ride a horse is for about 20 minutes, then give yourself a 10 or 15 minute break and ride for 20 minutes again. If you know you're going to work for 20 minutes, then you can focus and stay working hard for 20 minutes. But during that twenty minutes, you want to make something better. Ask yourself "What can I make better?" Find one thing and work to make it better.
The key to training is to find improvement in what you're doing. That's what keeps you going, what keeps you wanting more. You should never be satisfied with what you've got or what you've done. "Satisfied" is another word for "content" and that's another word for "quitting." Then you can't go any farther. So never be satisfied and you'll find that there's always more to it, there's always more to want.
Always raise your expectations. The whole time you're riding, you need to be looking for the moment when you can begin asking for more. You're looking for something to make better. Not everything, just something. Say you're starting off and you're just kind of moving around. You're just out there changing directions. You don't care how it looks; you're just changing directions. After awhile you should begin staying in one direction till you see the nose start to go down, or you feel it start to soften up. Then build on that. Always ask for something to get better. Either he stays going the same speed, or his nose stays bent to the inside, or he softens up… something has got to get better. Stay there holding your horse until something improves, then release him and change directions.
The more the horse has to think about, the more chance the horse has to think, like trying to get to the other horse or trying to get out the gate or thinking about that back. The more you give him to think about, the less choices he has so give them something else to think about. Pick up speed, slow down, change directions. Soften his nose up, drops his ears, raise his ears, change direction, break at the poll.