Thanks, TL! You seem to be much more confident in my riding than I am.
This, I hope, will be the last part of our introduction. What we do.
Snickers was backed as a fresh four year old. Quite soon after that he was put into 2h daily work as the trail guides' horse for guided trail rides and, as a 5yo, he started working as a lesson horse. His dominant character proved to be a challenge, as he soon learned that, if he persists in not doing anything, the human on his back will soon cease - that applied to the riding students. If the rider was persistent enough or if the saddle fit badly, he'd try out bucking. I was told that in trails he first was very eager to go first and fast, and, if the way home was what we wanted, try spinning, but it was taught out of him, in process losing lots of his natural forwards movement, in my opinion.
When I bought him, he could:
* Do WTC, basic steering, stopping in a rope halter - that was all he was ever ridden in -, stand to a mounting block.
* Go in trails as a fearless leading horse or anywhere in the line - first preferred, though.
* Jump small obstacles. He also went through a beginner jumping course once.
* Do all the 7 basic Parelli games in a basic level.
I had been riding for 2 years at that point and my equation was not that good, to be honest. My seat was clumsy, I tended to lean forwards a lot, I held my hands mostly straight, my feet were always up and I seemed to make horses crazy in canter. When I bought Snickers, I was mostly lazy and didn't want to address my problems, until it was pointed out to me and until I understood it myself, how my riding affects our partnership. Since then, I've been taking every lesson I can (though not as often I'd like to) from several instructors, a Dressage trainer and now - a jumping instructor. From just steering lazily around the arena or, more often, out in the trails, we, in our almost 2 years of partnership, now:
* Working seriously on our rhythm, impulsion and balance - I believe, I've regained much of his forwards movement at last.
* Working on my seat and overall position as well. Slowly improving, but lots of space for further improvement!
* Riding bitless and sometimes tackless, or with a cordeo.
* Jumping grids, bounces and, since two weeks, simple courses.
* Working on the basics of lateral movements.
We also spend lots of time by just taking walks in-hand in the trails, doing NH based groundwork and learning some tricks for the sake of fun. Snickers knows how to do Spanish walk, bow, lie down, sit, stretch, climb on different objects, carry an object in his mouth, self-load a trailer and rear.
This Sunday, we're participating in our first showjumping competition together - we'll be jumping the small jumps along with kids, but hey, it should be fun! :)
Here's a small video of some things we've done this summer: A Midsummer Dream - YouTube