YAY!! Such a good lesson today for Dan.
After my lesson with Fleck today I told Kelly that I wanted to do that with Dan too. She said "Really? You sure?"! hee hee. After our last lesson.... ;) But yes.. I did. It was exhausting at my last Cindy lesson. I need to reiterate that go means go. And it was worth taking a whole lesson to do it.
Luckily Dan was much better behaved this week. I actually got on without lunging him. :) He was a little rowdy but really not bad. He was a little prancy and light on his front end so he did get a little smack with the crop and that made him think otherwise. We did another lap while Caroline was finishing up and then it was our turn.
Kelly and I talked "theory" again and she said that with the youngsters and greenies and those who are spooky or liable to misbehave (coughDancough) that we can still use the crop but in a bit more civilized manner (not overhanded). So while we were talking I realized that Dan was barely moving at the walk and kept stopping. Kelly realized it too and we decided to start at the halt to the walk, rather than the walk to the trot.
And it worked!! It was magical! It involved some bucks and some bolts, but really he was quite good for it. And his ears were on me instead of being distracted by other things. And I was able to get a trot with a very light squeeze. And then I was able to maintain the trot with no nagging! Dan worked harder than me finally!! :) It worked at the canter too. So yay. Now I just need to remind myself.. NO NAGGING! Shock and Awe baby! I can use the leg for bend and lateral work but no nagging.
We also discussed what to do if he started slowing down or got sluggish. And the answer is the same as if he breaks. I can be polite and if I want a bigger trot, I can cluck or ask with a slight squeeze first, but if he doesn't respond with a surge forward, he gets a smack. Doing the soft squeeze followed by a hard smack is much more black and white for him than asking once nicely, asking a second time a little less nice, a third time more forcefully, a fifth time really forcefully and a sixth time out of control. It just makes it very clear to him and makes his job black and white. And that makes it easier on both of us.
We also played with getting him connected some while making sure that he stayed forward and in front of the leg. And I was a bit more polite because we upped the ante, but within reason. I didn't change the rules, I just asked him nicely and gave him a chance. But if he didn't respond, then he got a little smack.
SOOOO very helpful! Now to just keep this in mind and not forget it!