I will continue to work on his school halt and try to get it slower, more controlled and for a longer time, do you have any tips on how to do this?
I used these things to improve school halt and hindleg engagement:
- Rewarding for very early stages of rearing (i.e. interrupting the high rear by rewarding for just the preparation for it). Since the rears are so self-rewarding, I found it otherwise hard to make the horse focus on the beginning of the movement, namely the bending of the haunches. While rearing, most horses do a decent amount of bended haunches and that way, the bending becomes a conscious action.
- The Mountain Goat stance helped us the install a cue for stepping forward, under the weight with the hindlegs. This I could later use in combination with the weight shift back to get more bending in the hindlegs.
- I also used rears a lot for training the hindquarter strength. What I did though was that I cued Mucki not with raised body, or arms. Instead my cue is going deep into a crouching/squatting kind of move, while imagining that I lift Mucki up with my arms. It feels very similar to the warrior position in yoga. Very strong, very grounded.
Don't know if that would be beneficial to you though, since you want to get away from rears and jumps as a default behaviour...
- I also tried to use situations, where bended haunches are a natural thing, make sense and are fun. Backing up towards natural, or artificial borders on the ground. Shifting weight back while standing with the front-legs on a pedestal (tree stump, uphill).
With Mucki, even bad weather had its benefits