It fascinates me that so few books give clear instructions for stopping and starting. Surely these are the two most important aids and all else is based on these. One writer who makes it very clear how simple and separate these aids should be is Kyra Kyrklund, for this reason I often recommend her book and I would urge everyone to read her thoughts on this subject.
Part of the reason that I'm writing all this is to clear my own mind, I think I know what I do when I'm riding but until I start to break it down then I can't be certain. To stop I use my hands, to go I use my legs. Always (at the beginning) separately and always aiming to get them to be the smallest/lightest possible to get a reaction. I recently read a lesson report from a friend and her trainer had suggested she ask very quietly the first time but to build it to *asking like you have PMT*, lol, but that's the rub isn't it? It's no good going through twenty different levels of asking, it has to be first discretely aided and then loudly but always being certain not to have even the tiniest opposing aid in place. What I mean by that is when you ask forwards in the early stages then you must never block with the hand, the horse must always sense that he can go forwards. Likewise when we aid for halt we must remove any thought of a driving leg. Later these two fundamental aids of hand and leg can be *played* together but not (for me) in these early stages.
Of course this work will have commenced, dismounted, at liberty, in-hand, on the lunge etc already with Chapiro I use the whip or my hand at the *g* spot where I will later use my leg and so it won't come as any surprise when this continues into his ridden work. On the ground we can use body language but this becomes pretty obsolete when we climb aboard, however it must be very important in building a trusting bond between horse and trainer.
In recent years I have *played* with the idea of clicker training, it doesn't change the methods but it offers a really accurate reward system and enables you, with some horses, to advance more quickly and avoid the *PMT* phase of aiding.
There is so much to say on this subject I think it will be rather a long project. Tomorrow perhaps I'll be able to talk about how I use my legs and hands, better ride and take some notes!!
Can anyone else recommend a good writer on stopping and starting? Think I may have to get a book list on here.