Took Bodhi out to one of our larger pastures to canter around. My husband came along as well and we turned it into a husband/pony workout with him jogging next to Bodhi.
This makes Bodhi really excited for some reason... I think I may be missing some competitive undertones between the two. Maybe they have been trash talking each other when I go into the tack room for a curry?
Bodhi was very up and a little hard to control in our new bridle. I never felt afraid of losing him completely but there was a lot more pulling going on then I want their to be. I had a huge grin through it all because even if it's naughty an amped up haflinger is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
I remember a similar situation on our first ever trail ride where Bodhi went above the bit and turned me off and that was with a bit of course. So fear not I do not blame the bridle I blame the training. I obviously need to work more on tempo and transitions when he is in an "elevated" state. The problem of course is usually the "elevation" part.
Getting an Education:
I borrowed the DVD "Lesson 6: Shaping on a Point of Contact" By Alexandra Kurland. I have watched part 1 so far. I should probably watch it again. It is packed with information but the audio quality is poor. Here is the synopsis:
Physical balance has many benefits for your horse. He'll stay sounder longer. he'll have smoother, more beautiful gaits. And he'll be more focused and emotionally settled. How do you bring a horse into physical balance? By shaping on a point of contact so your horse becomes internally body aware and learns how to adjust his own balance. find out what that means and learn the skills to help your own horse achieve physical and emotional balance in this two hour DVD lesson.
One thing I have really gotten out of this DVD so far is how to use negative reinforcement correctly. This may be covered more extensively in other DVDs from her but I only have access to this one.
As she describes it all you need for "pressure" is to get to the point of contact with the horse and wait until you get your response. This is demonstrated with a horse on lead being asked to go forwards and backwards. Sliding your hand slowly up the rope lets the horse know you are about to cue then stopping your hand at the point you feel contact with the horse. No escalating the pressure from there. You immediately release as a -reward and if you add the clicker you get a + reward as well. Using a clicker to explain pressure and release during the acquisition phase makes a super soft horse without having to "up your pressure" (which I hate). She also explains body posture to help the handler stay soft but firm.
Started some work with Bodhi and he responded right away! He is a real slow poke on the lead too which is really frustrating. I am glad I have this tool now. Instead of playing the "how serious are you really about this?" game I can just reinforce when he responds to the level of pressure I want him to respond to. Perfect!