I am midweek in my first week of classes, and "surprise" all of them are that the barn so I can further my knowledge of the horse industry. I am enrolled currently in Western 4, and first thing we were watching a training video by Craig Johnson, "let it rein" or something to that effect. I am always willing to learn more, and am rather open minded to all training methods. All horses are different, sure they all have four legs, two eyes, cute, disproportionately small faces in comparison to their body, freakishly small feet for the mass of everything, BUT somehow, not every horse can go well in a snaffle, and not every horse will need a mikmar, running martingale, breastplate, etc. So, I do feel that it is important to take in everything you can because you never know when that horse will come you and your methods don't work. IF there was only one way of doing things, there wouldn't be so many successful trainers out there with a strong and supportive clientele base.
Anyway, back on topic - a lot of what Mr. Johnson had to say was great. Lines such as "move the feet, move the horse" so simple yet, why didn't everyone come up with that? And although he is a reiner, his methods too can be used on any horse. SO this morning Pogo was learning a bit about yielding to leg pressure and magically similar exercises arose - the "imaginary roundpen" and getting the haunches to swing out and away from the leg. All very helpful things. We were also starting to work a bit on accepting contact, which is a bit different from english to western, EXCEPT that ideally the outside rein should turn the horse in english, ie: neck reining.
Anyway, I wanted to share Pogo's success in starting to yield to leg aids and learn about what that big piece 'o rubber is sticking in his mouth AND make my instructor/coach/fearless leader proud (note to Kristen: however notice I did NOT use the term "disengage the hind end" I just can't do it, but that's what we were working on)