I tried to not think so much today during my ride and just feel. I had a lesson where we worked on contact. Barbara said that in the beginning we mechanically move our arms to follow the horse but it’s time I really learn to feel. We started at the walk. The goal was the half-halt for a few steps and then send him forward. In the half-halt, he was supposed to raise his head and then as I pushed him forward, he should stretch his neck out. My job was to follow his mouth and allow him to stretch his neck without just dropping the contact. We did the same at the trot.
At the canter, I really wanted to get the depart without compromising my position. That involved me having to whack him with the whip because he didn’t strike off when I first asked him. Once he was going when I asked, then I could concentrate on not either: 1) banging him in the mouth during the depart, or 2) dropping the contact completely. Both made him throw his head in the transition.
At least at the walk and trot, he started to trust that my hands would be there, which in turn, helped him get more impulsion. Funny how that works. You would think less contact would encourage the horse to go forward more but it seems the opposite. It’s like he needs the steady contact to be able to push forward.