But you DID just get on and go for a ride!
That was the beauty of it. The difference from the norm was that the ride went where Tamarack thought it should go, and he got no negative pressure or worse
consequences for not being quite on the same page as you thought you were!
I'm so glad my comments were useful and not taken as annoying.
It's hard for me to shut up, because you're following the same path I've just been travelling with Sunrise, and you're the first other person I've really seen doing it (although I'm sure there are others out there too.)
At risk of mememe-ing in your thread..
When I started, I allowed Sunrise to interpret as she could, and take me where she would, only gradually taking over the directing of proceedings over about a six month period of only intermittent rides. There were two major benefits of not being so quick to try to get her obedience .
The first was, she still feels that going for rides are her idea as I've slowy trained my idea to be her idea and avoided all confrontation, and consequently she views riding as a special treat.
The second was it really helped me to see the natural results of my riding, posture, seat and aids. And improve them! In other words, I allowed her to train me, rather than attempt to train her.
So rather than try to say "Okay, a squeeze from the legs means go forwards, so when you go backwards that's the wrong answer.", I would say "OH!
A squeeeze from my legs while I'm focusing in makes you think of taking a step backwards! Cool! Okay, I'll give you scritchies and praise for that, and try to remember to ask you that way next time. Now, what makes you feel like walking forwards?"
And just allowing and encouraging all her natural responses taught me a lot about the differences between traditional aids, which have to be taught, and natural aids, which allow the horse to automatically follow our movement. Her responses were so pure, untainted by her interpretations of what she "should" do, that I got great feedback on what I was doing right and wrong and how to balance and project myself better.
What I found was that it is exactly as Klaus Hempfling has described in his book. Inclining slightly forward, shifting legs back slightly, closing centre, squeezing, precipitates a backward step in any untrained horse. Opening up our shoulders, lifting head, opening legs, and inclining slightly back precipitates a forward step. The exact opposite of what many people do. Same with weight and focus shifts left and right. I'd already read this some time earlier, and practiced it some with our other horses with some good results, but Sunrise was like the litmus test!
After she trained me, I got much better results with the others.
(Only negative is, when "untrained" people try to ride them, the horses get confused, which is okay, as long as those people are there to learn from the experience and don't think they're going to teach the horse. I have some cool photos of this at work with Footprint.. I'll try to get round to posting in my diary.)
For forward movement, I also decided to cue another signal from the ground that I could use to clarify when riding. So along with the voice, cordeo, my body language cues for walk, I added a tap with a twig in the middle of her rump.. which is a direct signal to move forward, as opposed to leg aid, which is a trained signal.
This allowed me (duh,, having difficulty translating knowledge into action) to really concentrate on opening, focusing outward and forward, avoiding closing in, and then if neccessary, after my voice cue, give a little tap on her rump to clarify, without falling into my usual trap of tensing up. YIPPEE!!! Scritchies and treats, and in no time, she had forward and reverse gears, without any obvious cues other than a slight change in my posture.
In your vid, it seems to me that Tam may be responding in a similar way. He does a lot of backwards, and disengaging hindquarters, and it seems that he feels you're asking him to do this.. so I wonder if it would be useful to assume that you ARE asking him to do this, and praise him for it, then figure out what it is that you're doing, so you can use it again. Later, when he is confident and sure of this, and if you want to, you can introduce the cue that you will eventually want to use.
I also found there's a big sticky bit, when Sunrise had to make the jump from LITERALLY following me, which it seems at times Tamarack is still trying to do.. going round in circles trying to get at your shoulder
, to trusting that I'm up there and "following" me from in front. Patience, clear natural signals and lots of praise helps them through this.
Yes, Tam looks so beautifully balanced and in harmony with himself and you.
I'm sure this is the result of not riding them too young and all the wonderful groundwork that enhances self carriage. I also think that the togetherness they develop with us that allows them to predict and move in harmony with us on the ground directly translates to being able to more easily move in harmony with us on their backs. (Maybe also cause for a little pat on our own backs.. as all the groundwork and relationship building helps US to move better in harmony with THEM better too!
AND is wonderful!
I was shocked, and I wrote about it in my diary I think, how balanced Sunrise was for me right from our first rides. The first canter was light years away from the feeling from other young "green" horses I've had. I think newly started AND horses are a different colour altogether. Rainbow coloured maybe!
She's still had probably less than thirty rides, in the six month since the first time, but when my daughter rode her out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, she said to me "WOW! MUM! Sunrise is awesome.. She's the best trained horse here!" She's always been scornful that my horse was really "naughty" and full of her own ideas, so that brought a huge smile to my face!
I see the same balance and poise in Tam. (And a better body!!
) Even when he's trying all sorts of different directions trying to get it right, he's right under you and perfectly in balance.
Here's to rainbow coloured AND horses!