I want to be able to ride Midas, formerly the bully freight train, bridleless and halterless. He already goes quietly in a halter–before I broke my foot I was cantering him in a halter. The time off from the foot was a serious set back for me, and set back our ridden work. So we have some making up to do.
But, we did a lot of groundwork that year. A lot. And we made huge strides.
So, why couldn’t he be one of those horses that goes in a neck rein or less?
I read a Buck Brannaman article on Eclectic Horseman that gave a deceptively simple exercise for laying the foundation–ride a serpentine using only your legs to steer. Makes sense, right? Simple, right?
Ugliest serpentines I have ever ridden.
But….we’re making progress.
I’ve sort of combined that with Clinton Anderson’s Follow The Fence exercise, which we never really spent a lot of time on due to very little in the way of regular fencelines at this property. But I’m messing with the exercise now–using only my legs to direct Midas to stay on the path, as much as I can, anyway.
Anything that involves freedom excites him in a good way, but he hasn’t totally figured out what I want yet so he hasn’t fully embraced the responsiveness. He thinks that no rein means he can go where he likes as long as he keeps the pace I tell him. That is very similar to cruising–where he could go where he liked as long as he kept the pace. Now I just need to convince him to listen to my legs.
It HAS been working, he’s much more sensitive to leg pressure in general now, which is great. We still have pretty ugly serpentines, but I can actually float my hands over the reins without him immediately checking out.