I was re-reading some of my old Savvy Times magazines and came across this gem by Linda Parelli,
I started teaching Hot Jazz to canter ‘half pass’ (canter diagonally across the arena) and it took about a dozen repetition before he could do it without tension. The next day, he couldn’t wait to do it!
Horses learn when you release, so it’s important not to stop or “release” when the horse is having trouble. This is not always easy! If you don’t have the skills, it’s better to back off rather than do more, but I finally got to the stage where I could ask him to stay focused.
She was talking about the process she took to help Hot Jazz go from frazzled to focused during the Horse and Soul tours last summer. He had some stressful right brained moments so the summer turned into a time for Linda to really work on their relationship and Hot Jazz’s confidence.
Billy’s problem with maintain gait on the circle really boils down to a confidence issue and me understanding neutral and when to ask for more instead of stopping too soon.
As a human being I tend to get bored or worry that HE is getting bored so I stop too soon. Billy is mostly a left brained horse and repetition can bore them. However when he is feeling more right brained, unconfident and tense then I must treat him like a right brained horse and they LOVE repetition!
I really do try to adjust to him moment by moment and focus on not getting stuck in one quadrant with him or myself. My ultimate goal is to help Billy become centered. And along the way I suspect I too will become centered.