Posture and patterns for riding a forehandy, mentally sensitive horse?
Any advice on how one should ride a horse that is inclined to plod on the forehand and be mentally sensitive? I'm looking for what I can do as a rider to make her exercise easier. Twice a week we have our strenuous training sessions, the rest of the week we have a mix of in-hand, at liberty, lunging, and ridden work to keep the both of us fit. She's a sweetie, fairly easy to work with on ground. Under saddle, the problem is that I have trouble figuring out where her mind is and how to deal with her mental states. It's hard to get her "switched", as in, from a walk-overtracking, to a working trot, and back again. She's either in the mood for a good walk or not. Some days she just wants to trot extended and drift away from the rail, some days she wants to trot tiny and slow looking outside the fence. Consistently, though, she plows her forehand. Blurgh. We both train as Eventers and so I usually have a classical seat with light contact. I'm wondering if perhaps I should adopt a different posture and way of asking her to make the exercise easier when all I want to do is practice shifting gaits and whatnot but refrain from physically straining her; I want to work her mind more than her muscles on the exercise rides. She has a tendency to avoid my hands and tense up to the aids. She doesn't get behind my leg, but leans on my hand when I add more than the usual pressure, specifically when I ask for bigger, not faster, steps.
Could you try some "games", like set up some cones and pretend to be barrel racing. I mean things that involve quick transitions from a walk to a gallop. The thrust puts the horse back onto the hind end, and they soon learn to get read, set , GO!
just a thought.
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