I really liked what you posted on the other thread. Unfortunately, there was no "love" button to click.
But your explanation "explains" Mia and Lilly and Cowboy and Trooper and Bandit.
Cowboy is pretty experienced and self-sufficient. He is largely the same horse with a total beginner as with an experienced rider. Cowboy doesn't like arena work, but put him on a trail and he is VERY sensible. He understands the desert (having been born wild) and knows how to handle himself.
Trooper can take a total beginner, but he was named TROOPER because he was always just 'a little trooper' who would do what he was told. In most cases, his natural reaction is to do what his rider says. He was always that way, which is why my rancher friend recommended him to us. You can count on him to do what you ask in the large majority of cases.
Mia wanted to be self-sufficient, but lacked the experience. So she was nervous, but she often forgot about her rider. If she bolted, the most reliable way to slow her was to call her name softly. Once she remembered, she would 'check-in'. She also NEEDED to be part of the decision making process.
Bandit is pretty self-sufficient in the desert, but has no experience riding in human neighborhoods. In a neighborhood, he needs to trust his rider.
IMHO, the problem was that his previous riding experience was "Shut up and color" - so a firm rider would get him to obey, but against his judgment. I've been trying to show him I
have good judgment. We are about to a point where his trust in me is similar to his trust in another horse...which means it helps, but he isn't confident walking past something just because another horse just did it, either.
He is enough like Mia to want to be part of the decision-making process, but he also needs a lot of reassurance at times - which can be communicated by a firm seat, firm legs, a reassuring voice, AND a refusal to let him make the decisions on his own. There is a point where, if I time it right, I can defuse tension by "suggesting" we turn left 20 degrees and get an extra 20 feet of room, or by suggesting a trot will leave us better prepared in case that garbage can DOES leap at us. A well timed suggestion will reduce his tension and buy me obedience...but the timing is still something we need to work on.
"Most of the Mustangs I've ridden are the opposite. In general, they've been more confident types but extremely self-reliant. You could just feel the disdain when they'd stop to look at something possibly threatening. I'd give them the old, "Come on, nothing to see here," cues and I swear their entire body language would be, "Oh really? You think YOU are going to decide if it's safe for ME?" One even turned and gave me a look.
That is Cowboy. Including the LOOK. He'll also stop and give Trooper the LOOK when Trooper is lagging behind so Cowboy (the decision-maker) needs to stop and wait for him. Cowboy accepts me as an adviser only. And in the desert, that is usually all he needs.
"Valhalla is very insensitive to the rider's confidence and depends heavily on herself. You could be totally confident or scared witless and she'd behave the same. She's mid-level when it comes to spooking, and once she learns things are safe, she won't spook about them again. But she is high on the excitability scale and won't calm down until her own internal factors are satisfied.
Mia. Very much like Mia.
" My friend says "Amore knows if your little toe doesn't want to go over the jump." She is a very spooky horse, above mid-range excitable but can calm down quickly if the handler or rider exudes confidence.
Bandit. His rider's attitude and confidence are very important to him, IF he believes his rider is trustworthy. He can usually be pressured into doing X, but that does nothing to calm him about X.
So thank you for a couple of great posts! A great rider wrote:
"Because of the widespread preconception that you can only learn, in a sort of intuitive way, by doing, and that reading or even thinking seriously about riding is rather pointless, too many young riders are doomed to groping too long in a forest of problems solved long ago. I can recall my astonishment, when I first began to collect books on the techniques of riding, at finding, in books written two or three centuries ago, minute descriptions of "discoveries" that I had made for myself only after a long period of trial and error...Once we become interested in learning about riding, and are not content to repeat interminably the same errors, there is much that we can learn." - William Steinkraus, Riding and Jumping, 1961.
This has been one of those "Aha!" moments for me.