Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southern California
More arena and in hand work at home will help and be sure to add lots of emotional stimuli. Speed, changes, spook work, new lessons, anything that gets your horse a bit upset then bring him down again. A horse that is soft and giving cannot be bucking and rearing.
Take shorter rides and try to just get him to the starting point of being upset, then work the exercises you did in the arena until he is quiet and then leave him alone. Get down if you need to be safe, but work him until he is quiet.
I correct rearing and bucking with the same pre-taught cue, disengaging the hip. Get that cue solid in the arena meaning he does it softly from all gaits. Also, work on shoulders in the arena. The more body parts he is soft and responsive to at home under pressure, the more control you will have away from home.
Go on working trail rides. It is mind draining, but initiate all moves, go around bushes, rocks, whatever. Do circles, serpentine, yield shoulders, hips, stop, back up. Keep him thinking about you and staying soft. As he gets better, let him alone when he is quiet, work him when you see him think about acting up.
Trail riding can suck a lot of training out of your horse because we like to drop the reins and enjoy the ride. The longer you go without asking your horse to do something, even if it is to just softening his jaw, the more time he is spending doing what he wants. This is not to imply you should have constant contact on the bit. Every request should end with softness from the horse and a release of the rein from the rider. The better your horse becomes, the smaller the request can get, but we should always check it now and again to be sure we are on the same ride. : )