All I worked on this weekend was getting PJ to react at the moment I asked. It was not pretty – put leg on, don’t get a response, kick or whip. On Sunday I added the clicker for when he was good but that didn’t help much. I just knew something about my approach was wrong and I hated to resort to such harsh aids. I just didn’t know why.
Before my lesson, I expressed my frustration to Barbara. She suggested she stand in the middle with a lunge whip. My job was to ask correctly with seat and calf (not heel, not kicking, not whip) and if he didn’t react, then she would snap the lunge whip.
Well, it turns out that PJ was really reacting to my aids. I was just looking for a bigger reaction than he is capable of. Barbara just wanted him to half-halt and sit a little and then REACH out forward when I pushed. Not jump forward, not rush, just take a longer stride. I had been looking for more of a jump forward and by using such strong aids, I was really only asking PJ to rush. I needed Barbara’s confirmation that his response was the correct response and it definitely wasn’t what I had been looking for.
Once I figured it out, PJ moved from his hind end and all of the problems I had had turning to the left went away. I could feel him pushing instead of dragging, and even though it wasn’t as forward as I thought it should be, it felt right.