I believe there about 100 ways to ask for the exact same result when working with horses. At this point in my relationship with Lucy, I have tried quite a few methods. Some have worked better than others. The most recent method I tried was "ignore it all and put my leg on" and while this moves her past that one instance of acting out, she continues to try and pull the same stunts multiple times during the course of the ride. Talk about annoying!
Last night we worked on her becoming more responsible for herself. I joked with Maddy that I must have to adjust her at least 15 times each trip around the ring. 75% of those adjustments are "slow down" and the remaining 25% are "stop being a complete and utter jerk". Wouldn't it be nice if she could hold her own a bit, and travel around at a constant pace on a loose rein without taking advantage of it and also without me having to give her a half halt (that she mostly ignores) every other stride?
Maddy taught me how to "reset" her if she gets too fast, acts naughty, or refuses to go forward. What I was instructed to do is:
-let go of any inside contact I have
-sit deep in the saddle
-push my outside hand down toward her face, hold the rein, and pull her head toward the wall of the indoor
-at the same time, use my inside/outside leg to push her body around and then straighten her back out when she is pointed in the opposite direction
Your reins only control from the base of the neck forward, and your legs control from the front of the shoulder backward. Coordination is key!
This is a pretty cool tool because unlike a one-rein stop, it does not halt the motion entirely; it instead encourages the horse to move out at the end of the intervention. Doing a one-rein stop with Lucy really pisses her off and on the flip side, I have a horse that is even more unmanageable than she was before I felt the need to stop her.
So I have dubbed this the reset button, though I am sure there is some fancier term for it. We first worked on it on Sunday night, Lucy's first ride after two days off. She was feeling mighty fresh so it was a good time to introduce this concept. Sometimes we didn't go more than two steps after resetting before she needed to do it again because she threw a tantrum or kicked out at my leg.
The kicking out business really annoys me. "No" is not an acceptable answer, ever, and that is a direct refusal to go forward/accept my leg, along with a giant middle finger (the kicking out part). She obviously thinks she is some hot sh*t. This method seemed to work a lot better than standing there, both of us dueling it out with each other, feet flying.
The toughest part is setting your threshold, mostly in terms of speed. If you have a horse that likes to get quick, what is the point where you say, ok, time to reset? I need to work on that myself and be very cut and clear with her for the concept to really click.
Last night she was a lot better but still had her moments. The best feeling was trotting around the ring and her just maintaining her own pace, not getting quick down the long side, thinking of acting out but then deciding not to, etc.
You will see in the first part of the video that I am working with her a bit on the ground, doing the exercises that the chiro prescribed for her after her appointment on Sunday.