Over the years I have developed some strong ideas about how I like to train. Of couse, this has been influenced by the horses I have trained and the events I have trained them to compete in.
I really dislike interfering with a horse's natural way of doing things. By that, I mean I let the horse perform a manuever in the way his confirmation and movement dictates. Now, this necessitates that you realistically evaluate your horse. It also helps you to be fair to both you and your horse. Unrealistic expectations don't help anyone or any horse.
I always let the horse find his balance and make sure that he is responsive to the bridle. This is important because we want to make training as easy for the horse as possible. Remember, there is a difference between training and getting in the way. Horses that are brought along this way often go on to be higher achievers. They are the horses that are capable and willing to go on to higher and higher levels.
After a horse really understands what I'm asking, and has confidence in himself, I start putting the "finishing touches" on. So, in short - I don't start with things such as draw reins or advanced manuevers before the horse has conquered the basic equipment and moves.
I also work through the beginning and intermediate stuff first. By training "in order" you have many more possibilities to work with and you will not have limited your horse's development. Many horses that are hurried and trained for a "flashy" beginning never develop into their true and full potential and I think that's a real shame! See you next week, JD.