This post has been kicking around in my head for a while and sitting here in the drafts. There have been things happening that have made me think about it and how it pertains to training and riding in general.
Horses are reactive animals, meaning they simply react. They don't think about things and plot out a way to respond, they just react. Sometimes they resist and sometimes they give us exactly what we ask for, but it's the simple truth of every action warrants a reaction.
There are a million and one little things we can do in the saddle that changes the way of going in our horse and those little things may be what wins us a class. When we put a leg on their side, they either bend a little more, move over a little, reach up under themselves more or maybe change gaits, depending on how the cue is applied, the timing of it and what other cues are given with it. When we sit up a little straighter improving our own posture, it changes the way the horse moves as they shift their own bodies to change the way they balance us on their back. Even the little things like looking where you want the horse to go makes a difference.
Bringing your shoulder back can stop us twisting our upper body and straighten the horses line of travel. If your lower leg seems to be loose or out of position, standing up in your stirrups and sinking into your heel can help put it back where it belongs. Bringing your inside leg back slightly can shift the rear end over, again helping to straighten the horses line of travel.
If the horse is fresh and we come down a little hard on them, they may react a bit explosively. Our intensity in using the cues is comprable the amount of reaction we get from the horse. If we are light and subtle in asking, the horse should ease into the movement we asked for. If we kick them hard and spur them forward, they will likely take off faster than hoped for or maybe even buck.
One of the boarders at the barn, seems to yell at his horse contantly. Combine that with him giving the horse a lot of cues at once- all mixed messages of course- and it's not often they get anything accomplished, let alone done well. The horse I have learned, is pretty well trained so it's clear where the issues lie. This is the same guy that seems to be trying to impress everyone. He's making an impression all right....