Kicking out - Am I handling this correctly?
So horsey has thrown me a new curveball. Last year we did our first season of showing. Did a few elementary level horse trials (2'3" max) and got used to how the eventing shows work. This year, apparently my horse has decided he's the bomb and knows everything there is to know, including the speed at which he wishes to travel.
It always goes the same way. We go out into the fields, warm up at a nice forward trot. Then I ask for canter and get answered with a hand gallop. When I half halt him to get him back to the canter I asked for, he does that naughty twisty neck thing and kicks out a few times. I ignore it, ride through it, and so far he always comes back to me as I asked.
After a few tries, he goes into the canter without protest and I can even change between hand gallop and canter without much effort, but was wondering if I am addressing his protest correctly by not addressing it. Is there anything I should do at the moment he kicks out, or is ignoring it and riding through the best idea here?
Yes. My mare does the same thing. The only thing that stopped her from constantly kicking out every time was a quick boot to the ribs. Works for 2 reasons 1.) Teaches him its not okay to kick out 2.) Gets his attention back on you. Other people have said when it happens to me to turn them in a super tight circle, but my mare was super smart and turned it into a fun little game (Oh you want me to canter? Guess what! KICK! Ooo! Now we're spinning!! Holy crap girl you are really bad at this! :D) Lol. Another thing you could try is mixing in flatwork. Work on collecting and lengthening all of the gaits (ex. Trot - Extend trot 4 strides - Collect trot 8 strides) vary the amount of strides at each of the extended and collected periods. Work on half halts. Keep him guessing. This will all get him to listen to you better and respect your aids.
Yes, I agree about the tight circle quickly turning into a fun new game. My guy would use that one in a second. I'm just glad he hasn't picked that one on his own! Maybe a slight jab to the belly might work. I do want him to know that I don't find it amusing, and the quicker correction the better.
I do mix things up a lot after he's settled down a bit and get some very nice work out of him. It's just getting old really fast to have to work through this every time. Usually he gives up on his "new thing" after about two weeks.
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