Ah well, couldn't expect the sunshine to last forever and we did need a drop of rain (well my newly planted shrubs in the back courtyard did!!).
Having played with the idea of l'effet d'ensemble (the antithesis of leg without hand, hand without leg) yesterday I decided that today I would play some more. Theoretically it is the idea of bringing the hindquarters underneath, nearer to the centre of gravity by gentle urging with the spur. The hand doesn't *give* the horse effectively renders itself (ramener) by relaxing at the poll and thus the horse balances between hand and leg. Baucher advocates this for hot horses who need steadying but equally for dull horses who need lightening. To begin with, in halt, the spur is pressed lightly but then progressively increased until the horse takes his balance back and releases the forehand to be light and available.
OK so I have a slight problem in that I don't wish to train with spurs. My horse is extremely light and needs so little to urge him forwards that I don't see the point. Ah yes, the spur theoretically enables the rider to use a lighter and more precise aid... well I'll just have to be guided by my horse and if at some time in the future it is better for him then fine but at the moment I don't feel we are ready.
I do have a slight problem with the effet d'ensemble as perhaps it may teach a horse to be less reactive to the leg, however, in the case of Moo that is exactly what I'm after, less reaction to the leg.
So, less theory, more practice and back to today's work. From walk I asked halt by closing my lower fingers on the reins, at the same time moving some weight into the stirrups and breathing my legs away. In the next split second (as quickly as my human coordination could do it) I renewed my ask for the halt with my hand staying closed (but no more take) and the legs wrapping around the horse (staying long around him) and then *pulsed* this long wrapped leg feeling until I felt the poll and jaw soften and chew as in the jaw flexions. After the initial confusion (he offered to rein back) he stood calmly and came to my hand with his back up and round, it was a great feeling. We then walked on and he was *into* the rein and after a stride or so I released the lower finger contact and he stayed up to my hand.
I'm going to need to work more on this but my initial thoughts are that for a hot horse, not offering to come to the contact without curling back then this may be an answer...perhaps, I'll let you know!!
It goes without saying that Moo played the game (I swear he laughs at me) in true style and so we cut short schooling and pootled up the lane, only a *quickie* as it had started to drizzle and I don't *do* rain.