I just recently spent 5 days at a Martin Black clinic (if you do not know of him, take the time to Google him.) I learned so much that I needed to improve on. Martin created an awareness that I needed. I had read about and heard about not pulling on my horse, and about what you put in is what you get out.
The concept I understood, but, the application in my personal situation with my horse was something my horse and I really needed. In the clinic we were given a drill, or pattern to work on based on our request to Martin of something we wanted to get better at. In working on a stopping exercise, Martin was somewhat surprised at how fast Cass was going and pulling against me. Well wouldn't you know it came to light that I had built this into Cass by holding onto him and making him anticipate my hands and igniting his flight response.
I really did not have a solution on how to slow Cass down without pulling, which looks and feels horrific. So, I was coached to ride straight across the arena and just let him go as fast as he needed and the only direction I was to give was to make sure Cass went straight across the arena. So I was to block any right or left drift. I was to do this by using my focus and only ONE rein at a time.
I thought I understood one rein at a time having studied this at Parelli clinics and in their literature and d.v.d.s. Well, having an expert open my eyes to my incorrect practices really made me aware of my need to FOCUS, use ONE REIN at a time.
Once I got this really ingrained into myself, Cass really started to understand and say a huge thank you. He is traveling much softer I am riding much softer in my hands and I also understand that if my body stops and I give Cass a soft feel in one rein and he chooses to blow through, that is when I get really firm. This he understands and if I am consistent in my body, focus, and feel, my horse is a dream to ride.
Thank you Mr. Black