Whenever I try to refine an aid, I try to increase my horse's chances of success by making it very predictable at first. Say I'm going to practice walk to halt transitions. I try to make the aids very consistent, but ask for the halt at the same place in the arena each time until he starts to anticipate. It seems to backfire in a good way. He feels me start to change my seat to ask for the halt cue, wants to blow me off, but knows we're going to stop at that fence post anyway, so he stops. I do it at the same place a few times and then I trick him by offering the cues at different spots. He doesn't necessarily know why he just stopped, and actually seems a little pissed that I got the better of him, but it seems to work. Try it...can't hurt.
I love... LOVE your idea. It makes so much sense! I am teaching my horse to canter right now and I ask him in the same way in the same spot, and now he just does it by himself when we get to that space...
The same concept, but for seat.. I LOVE IT! :) I will definitely try it. Thank you so much :)
I think of moving off the seat as similar to learning to neck rein.
With neck reining, you are teaching a horse to move off of pressure on his neck rather than pressure on the bars of his mouth, like he has previously known.
With moving off of your seat, you are teaching him to adjust his rhythm, stride, and direction from your seat rather than your legs, like he has previouisly known.
Most horses catch on to seat aids very quickly when used in conjunction with leg aids. When you shift your weight to one side, wait for a response. Many horses will want to drift to that side, not liking your weight unbalanced. The idea is for the horse to want to be centered under you. At first, while you wait for a response, squeeze gently with your opposite leg to push the horse over, like you would without using seat aids. As soon as the horse moves, center yourself over his back again. Do this several times, using less and less leg as the horse learns and eventually using lo leg at all.
For seat aids concerning rhythm, stride, and speed, Jane Savoie does a great job of explaining the different seats on her video on YouTube. I believe she describes this as using Driving seat, where you give the horse energy to increase stride or tempo or make an upward transition; Passive seat, which is used to tell the horse to stay the same; and another seat which I'm not sure of the name (I simply refer to it as the "locked" seat) which tells the horse to slow down or decrease stride length or rhythm. I'm currently teaching these to Excel, and I have been riding him with the seat aids I use with Molly (I rarely use any leg on her unless I'm asking her to bend around my leg or make an upward transition), in conjunction with the leg aids he knows already. When I'm working with him, I often leave out the leg aids and see how well he will respond from my seat. It's mostly a matter of repetition and consistency.
So you kind of supply him with what he knows first, asking him to move away from your leg.. and then sneak seat into there and eventually make it the foundational cue?
Very clever, and makes it so much easier and less confusing for the horse..
Thank you guys so much! With everyone's response, Sky and I will have it down :)