Today was our third session of work. Today I started T-man on a halter with a long line attached to the side (inner ring). He got clicked and rewarded for head down, and listening to my signals. His actions and responses helped me fine tune things. We started catching a rhythm, where he started responding quicker to what I was asking.
The whip in front meant to slow down. I give the word “SLOW!” and my position is far enough ahead he can see my aid – this usually means I am well ahead of his shoulder. Once he slows, but does not break gait, I step back and to the side, so I’m more parallel to his hip and the whip moves behind his rump for “GO!” What I’m looking for is not a burst of fast speed, but a lifted back and surge forward with a good rhythm.
This showed a lot of improvement. He didn’t burst into his crazy, out of control canters. Once he decided that he had enough and did a butt turn, I quickly corrected by making him turn twice until he gave me an inside turn.
What I noticed, is that he is much stiffer going counter-clockwise (left lead counter) with his nose pointed to the outside of the circle, even during canter. His right side, clockwise, is much more supple and flexible. I’ll continue the ground work to correct this imbalance, and also the riding work will need to be very aware of his stiffness and the work correct it accordingly.