Ok, since this is my journal, I think I'd better write about those things I made a note to myself to write on, now, before I forget what those notes even mean.
Ya see, all these "deep thoughts" came from today's very easy ride on Z. We walked the most of it 'cause my back and knee are troubling me too much for a lot of posting or cantering.
Continuing on from what we'd been workin on from our last ride, I wanted to use every opportunity that arose, and create some myself, to test Z's obedience to stop, and stay stopped. I had had a bit of a battle with him earlier where I'd stop, drop the reins on his neck and he'd then just leak forward and start walking for home. I'd pick up the reins, stop him back him up to where he had been being sure that he rocked back on his haunches, then released the rein completely so that he can choose to make the same mistake, or choose to stand.
My goal is to have him stand long enough that he gives up his thought to move forward. You know how when a horse wants to go home, his body is revving for home, and so is his brain. So, yes, you stop him but he is almost leaning forward with so much intention in his brain to move forward as soon as he can. He may be stopped by he is oblivious to his rider and is focussed on that first step forward. I wait for a change in that mental focus. How do I know it's changed? Well, I look for him to look back at me, or to take a deep breath and exhale loosly, to rock back on his haunche, to look at the ferns for a yummy nibble, . I look for him to cock an ear back on me AND an eye, such that he is asking" NOw?".
BECAUSE, I want to be the one that says, "ok, go now".
So, I have to have him stopped before it is ME who says go, and not just him pausing in his forward motion, engine still revving but momentarily in nuetral til I let off the brake and he can surge forward.
If he never stopped, then he is just leaning into the brakes and wearing them out.
It's essential that he stop long enough, and with enough release of that thought, that when he goes forward, the forward motion be MY idea, not just him carrying out the thought that he never let go of..
AND essential to that is that the cue to going forward NOT be just a loosening of the rein. That's like driving your care along , stopping by the brake and then taking the brake off and expecting your car to surge forward on it's own. A car that did that would be in constant foward push, including whenever you had the brake on, so it would wear down the brake in no time.
If you let your horse go forward just by releaseing the rein (no signal from either seat or leg) then your horse will not recognize a dropped rein as meaning "stand here". He will think that a release in the rein means speed up. What it means is "you did the right thing". (I ask horse to stop. He stops, I drop rein. That's his reward)
So , by allowing horse to move forward only by dropping your rein, you are expecting him to be leaning against the rein, pushing forward, and held in check only when the rein is engaged. He is running against your brake all the time, and "wearing it out" , meaning , "making it less meaningful"
So, my thing to work on is that I will not allow Z to move off only by lowering/looseing the rein. He moves off when I ask with seat or leg, and only then. If I drop the rein, I expect him to do nothing.
Now, let's see how conisistant I can be about that one!
Last edited by tinyliny; 02-18-2013 at 02:53 AM.