I just want to say first, he was never trained western. He was bred by a stud who focus on campdrafting, and the lady I bought him off teaches NH and also does a little campdrafting/team penning. So I guess you couldsay he was trained Australian, lol. Which is some of the same princinples as western (I think, I have never ridden western) but a lot more forward. A slide stop/rollbacks/haunch turns are all manouvers ridden in a stockhorse working pattern, and are performed from quite fast gaits, normally a hand gallop, only with a lot more contact than in a western pattern.
I also just want to say that i'm not blaming NH for the way he is, but I do think it is a contributing factor. He has been so desensitized that it has taken a lot fo work to get him moving off pressure the FIRST time. I also belaive, as a seperate issue, that the lady I bought him off was very passive in her riding, and never pushed him to do much at all. From talking to her, I got the impression she had only done a little arena work, and walked him around at a few competitions (not competing).
Spyder,I like your suggestion... Only thing is I don't have any lunging gear except for the lunge line... My pony has always lunged in just a halter, holding his frame. Lucky me! So I may have to invest in a roller and side reins, or borrow some. I have done a little ground driving with him, to help with the forward issue, and it has worked with him. So I think i'll give that a try.
TD, I have been doing what you suggested in regards to his carriage. Gently asking him to give to the contact, and the second he does, releasing pressure. He begins to look like he is nodding! He simply nods his nose down, then straight back up. Very funny looking! But I will definitely keep going with it.
Sonny, once I have him travelling the speed I want I do take my legs off, unless I need to straighten his body/yeild him over, and he is learning how to maintain his speed quite well. We have the forward established fairly well now, it's mostly keeping this WHILE keeping contact and him yielding to the bridle that i'm after now.
He is working well off my legs now, this I am happy with. TD I use my legs in a turn the same way, if I am looking for an even bend around the turn. Inside leg in the same position, but strong for the horse to bend around, and my outside leg back a little pushing them through the turn. When I am riding games,I have a few different turns. For a turn around a barrel ( that I am picking something up off ) I use a lot more inside leg and inside rein, as I need to get close eonough to pick up the object, but they CAN NOT drop that shoulder in and take the barrel. If I'm turning on a pole, I almost want a rollback, so it' a lot more outide leg to push that shoulder around, and my inside leg back a little to engage that hind and push it around.