Tips about Hunter training for a Western trainer.
Well, I ride western 99% of the time but recently I got on my 4-H leader's horse and exercised her in an english saddle, something I havn't done in maybe four years.
The horse is a 16h paint mare and she's riden often enough to know the basics of hunter under saddle for show. She will jump willingly as well. She really does look nice and I think she could be a contender this year at the local shows if I can manage to get her reined in. My primary motivation is a desire to get back to riding english and training other people's horses, as I'm becoming a bit bored with training just my own horse and riding nothing but western. I need to keep learning and I've reached a point in my western riding where I really can't teach myself much more ( I havn't had a trainer in 3 years ), so I've decided to branch out into other disciplines and expand my personal horizons.
They want to keep showing her and after I rode her, they asked if I'd be interested in training her up a bit for the pleasure and eq classes. What she needs is more focus. She moves well but she really just goes thorugh the motions when she's ridden and I think I can change that. I was able to put her in a better frame for english pleasure but I really want to make her more sensiive to the rider's cues so that she will do exactly what the rider asks, something she has trouble with now. Mostly she just goes and turns and stops, all pretty standard but it lacks any thought, if you know what I mean. She doesn't do it because she listens to the rider, she does it because it's ingrained in her after years as a lesson mount.
That's the biggest difficulty. The old scenario of teaching an old dog new tricks. Still, she's not really old, maybe between 8 and 10 but it's just that I'm going to have to untrain her before I can make any progress, if that makes sense.
So my question to you all is, what kinds of exercises and approaches should I take when training this horse for hunter riding. It doesn't have to be very advanced stuff, but I need a few exercises especially that I can employ to bring her around.