The first step in creating my training program is to clearly identify what it is that we need to work on. Here is what I have come up with so far.
On the ground
Fox: As he pretty much needs a total overhaul in this area it is hard to pinpoint things but I've found a few
1. Respecting my space.
He is terrible at this and until I realised that it wasn't such a good idea, I've been letting him get away him crowding. This also applies at feeding time.
2. His issues with being touched in certain places.
This includes particularly his feet and his nose. Both of these are highly inconvenient as they interfere with trimming and drenching.
I mentioned in a previous post that Fox can get aggressive when lunging. This is a real no no and has kind of put me off lunging so this is something we will probably work up to as his other ground manners improve.
I think this is the most important thing for me to work on as Fox will find it very difficult to learn if I am not consistent in my rules.
This means no anger, no fear, no frustration. I am getting better at this already but it still needs some work.
In the saddle
Regular rhythmical strides without me having to push and without him rushing.
Staying balanced through transitions and within gaits. No falling in or out on circles.
Really getting his big butt working and getting him off his forehand
Fox is still quite stiff so getting him to really bend throughout his whole body.
This is really the ultimate goal. I want this to be natural and unforced. I want Fox to carry himself.
6. Sideways movements
At the moment Fox doesn't really understand and the aid needs to be quite forceful. This is something that can be worked on from the ground too which should help.
7. Light aids
Getting Fox to respond to a nice light aid
Fox can get quite tense and when he does, his back hollows and his head pops up.
One aid at a time, either leg or hand, not both at the same time as it confuses the horse.
2. Lengthening of leg
I want my leg to be nice and long and no chair seat which I sometimes slip back into especially when Fox starts to rush.
My hands are often too low so learning to keep a straight line from my elbows to Fox's mouth.
4. Stop riding defensively
When Fox starts to rush, I start to tense, my chair seat appears and my hands get too hard.
5. Light elastic contact
Not too hard, not too soft. No pulling!
Wow that's a lot of stuff to work on!! I'm sure I've missed some out too.