So, unsurprisingly, we seem to agree that less is more. Agreed Claire, it isn't always easy to accomplish and I think the hardest thing for riders to accept is that their horse may not be that active when they first start working with them. I have often watched new students nagging their horses to walk out just that bit more. With some it becomes every stride and truly I don't think they are aware of how bad the nagging has become. Often riders are actually trying to push their horses out of the natural walk rhythm in search of some activity but in doing so they push the goal of a relaxed rhythmical walk even further away.
So one of the most important things about aids has to be use it sparingly and for the briefest time possible. If we constantly nag with our legs every stride then when we really do need to use some leg then the horse is so confused that it doesn't know how to respond. Sadly, horses like this can be labelled 'lazy' when in reality it is the rider that is too busy.
Expect great things for if we don't we crush the possibility! If we don't believe in the possibility that an aid might work then it won't. Riding/training isn't just about the physical but mental too and if we can use our minds to be calm, excited, happy etc then this helps us to stimulate, calm etc the horse.
This brings me to 'cue' versus 'aid'.
A 'cue' being a signal, such as a word or an action, used to prompt another event in a performance. A reminder, hint, suggestion or prompt.
As before an 'aid' being something that can help to bring about the performance of an action...
So is there any difference? This is my first question and I guess one I'll have to answer before moving on. In many ways the two are interchangeable but at the same time they are not. To me, the inference with a cue is that it brings about a reaction, ie I teach my horse to walk on by screaming 'FIRE' , whereas an aid, surely, by it's definition is something that actually helps to bring about the action. So my aids are designed to work with the horse and help it achieve a goal and a cue just sets something up (bit like Pavlov and his dogs slobbering at the ring of a bell) .
Well it's all just words at the end of the day so maybe I will go forward using the terms cue and aids to define my actions or maybe I should use a term like 'pre-aid' to decribe my actions before an aid.
Hopefully it will become more clear when I describe my method of aiding/cuing.
Oh this makes my brain ache but in a good way I guess