So, I have a new solid paint gelding, 5 years old, who came off a ranch where he was a work horse. He's dead broke and very well trained, but being a ranch horse he was trained to really trot! He has a huge stride and his trot is FAST! I bought him as a trail horse, so I'd like to slow him down a bit without losing his big ground covering stride.
The problem is this. I grew up riding English, so I am used to riding with some contact in the reins. For the past 10 years or so I've only ridden my 20 year old Arab who goes best with contact - if you throw the reins away he stops. This new horse was trained with very light/no contact - he will turn in tight circles with only leg pressure and shifting my weight in the saddle (this took me two rides to figure out, but that's another story!) So, since I have never dealt with this problem, I have no idea how to slow him down without taking up contact on the reins, which makes him toss his head and neither of us is happy. I've tried sitting deeper in the saddle to slow him, keeping him in circles or figure 8's, neither has worked well. Any other thoughts? Thanks in advance!