Tofino is generally a chilled horse when it comes to day to day work. Put a ground pole and he gets all energetic which I personally love.
He does get lazy days which not only strains my body to push him forward, but ends up not being a satisfying ride. So I thought perhaps writing a post dealing with those lazy horses on how to get them to move forward.
Nothing like a good roll and lay in the sand after a workout :p
Reasons why your horse may be lazy, other than personality & lack of proper training:
- Energy level
- Sore / ill
- Numb to aids
Once you make sure it is none of the above, and simply either their personality, or lack of training then go ahead with the following:
Start by giving a light aid (squeezing your leg), not constantly, only when they slow down. IF there is no response, or a delayed response, correct them by trying again whilst clicking with your mouth. If they respond to you praise them by rubbing/patting/giving treats.
If that doesn’t work, use an aid, such as a dressage whip but slightly TAPPING their sides, the same time that you squeeze your leg. using soft spurs may be easier if you have steady legs, rather than holding the whip and reins. Again, squeeze and relax, squeeze again when they start slowing down. Again, if they respond to you praise them by rubbing/patting/giving treats.
Keep a contact with the bit, but don’t restrict the reins. don’t try to collect them, the aim is to keep them moving forward and asking them to slow down when you ask them to slow down.
Give momentary breaks in between and let them stretch down. All you need is the forward reaction and the enthusiasm to answer back to your aid, which in turn shows that your horse is paying attention.
Retesting by closing both calves lightly is the most important step in the entire process. If you don’t retest, your horse only becomes duller since you’ve only taught him to go forward when he feels the whip or spurs. You haven’t taught him anything about reacting to a light leg aid unless you retest.
Accept nothing less than a 100% response. It’s okay if they break into a canter, ANY forward reaction needs to be rewarded in this situation. Don’t forget to praise them generously.
Hope this helps!
Happy riding 🙂