sometimes i think i really know what neutral is.  then other days i really wonder if i know what i’m doing.

billy really struggles with maintain gait when playing the circling game.  when i watched a video that i made today i noticed that i keep my arm raised as he is going around the circle.  i know i’m doing this because i feel that if i drop my arm billy will transition down to the trot.  if i keep my arm up he will continue to canter.  but what i’m really teaching him is that he canters while my arm is raised and transitions down when i lower it!  I’M training this misconception into him.

so that got me thinking… do i really understand neutral?  neutral when the horse is moving?  i understand it when i get an answer i like and we are playing around with something that has a definite ending, like hunting the jump, standing on the pedestal, doing the half jump, sideways, etc.  but neutral when he is moving around me i just don’t understand.  when i try to go to neutral billy will turn and either try to come into the middle or he will continue circling, but will trot instead of canter.

i’m thinking this is a neutral problem. if i was truly going into neutral when he is cantering, then he would know he has the answer right.

that brings up another question however.  before when i would play with different patterns and challenges, when he gets the answer right i go into neutral and BRING HIM IN.  or stop what we are doing for some think time.  we did this during the canter and the circle game at first.  then went back to it this summer.  now whenever he feels like he has the answer he just wants to come in or stop.  i TRAINED him to do that.

how do i UNTRAIN it!?

pat always says that lots of horses are taught things by their humans that they never need to know.

i know i’ve done that to billy.  and untraining is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

i think i have a lot of licking and chewing to do…..

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