Are you listening to your horse? Horses are communicating to you all the time…not just sometimes. What I see quite often is that riders are not listening to their horse until it is too late or the horse is interfering with their plans.
A common mistake I see is riders paying attention to their horse when he speeds up but not when the horse slows down. When a horse slows down…I see riders going along with their horse’s thought of slowing down. A horse’s responsibility is to maintain his gait until the rider asks his gait to change…this is the horse’s responsibility in your relationship. When a horse keeps slowing down and the rider is not paying attention…then they get upset when they ask their horse to go and he is not responding.
If you have a horse that is not responsive to go forward and/or not maintaining his gait…you might check and see if you have allowed him to keep slowing down without even realizing it. Pay close attention to every time he slows down and either tap him with a whip or bump him with your leg and say to him that you didn’t ask him to slow down. If you stay consistent with the process then your horse will start to realize that every time he chooses to slow down…then he feels the tap of the whip or your leg. If he chooses to maintain his gait, then he won’t feel the tap with the whip or your bump with your leg. Consistency is the key!
I often tell riders that your horse is always giving them little pop quizzes to see if the rider is there or not. If you are not there to help him with all of his choices…such as slowing down…then he thinks his choice is not wrong. Listen to your horse at all times and not just when it matters to your plans.