Lic and I had a lesson today... our trainer's arena is too wet for cantering, so we worked on collection and headset. The way she had me do it was to set my hands low and wide and keep them there, giving Lic enough rein to release the pressure if she would break at the poll but not enough to have her head.
And by golly, it worked! After an initial attempt to kill me (she spooked at the dogs) she jogged around the arena, tossing her head against the bit and generally being pissy and fighting the bit. But after a while, she settled down and realized she was only bugging herself, and I wasn't going to give. We actually had a few laps each way of what my trainer called a perfect western pleasure jog... and it felt great! Completely floaty and even harmonious, with Lic moving off the leg nicely. Of course, we had attitude intermittently, but it barely even registered to me... I felt like we made such great progress!
So, does anyone else want to share how they get their horse to break at the poll? Our trainer said we were basically simulating sidereins, but that now I know how to get her head under control... which, as an added bonus, will help prevent bucking! Anyone else have any ideas or methods they want to share?
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