Now I can tell you that a year ago nothing would have got me to ride on a cold damp morning with a piece of string for brakes! Coupled with the next door equines being mighty interested in our presence and then doing handstands and bombing about to show off, lol. I think that if I learn nothing from this exercise it will have brought about a deeper respect and trust between the two of us. I don't expect it to lead to nothing in any case but just in case.....
What I'm hoping to find is a bridle that can position the head with no tilt, no curl back, no excessive neck bend but with the squeeze of the fingers elicits a soft incurvation from nose to wither. Blimey, it does what I hoped for! I am so amazed and really can't believe how well he went. Downsides...the headcollar doesn't sit securely when you use the rein (totally fixable) the cord reins are just too thin. Now I thought thin would be good and it is but I think they're just too thin and the feel I get from using my old curb reins (very thin for leather) is actually a nicer feel. I want to keep them as thin as possible though because it always makes me want to be delicate in my feel with a lighter rein.
Halting is working well with the cordeo alone and some weight aid to back it up, rein-back is brilliant from the cordeo too. What I found really pleasing was that if I raised my hands and thus the bridle reins then he came up and open, not trying to curl back and down. Shoulder-in, counter s-i, travers all worked well and leg yield with a little shoulder aid through the cordeo worked a treat too. Oh well in for a penny as they say...and trot transitions; not sure if he really did feel looser or just that I felt slightly 'heady' with the thought of a piece of string for brakes but it was incredible. Crap bending on the left but after some tweaking we worked out a system of shoulder guiding with the cordeo and head flexion with the rein, balanced with some leg/weight aids for the other end; conversely no surprise that his right rein wasn't bad at all.
An excellent start, LOADS to work on and improve and more trawling the net to decide on which sidepull (I still like the Enduro but it's only rope and Patrick has promised to try constructing one for me).
The moral of this work....trust yourself to see the good in your horse and work with it.
Di asked me the other day about the cone targeting and *stuff* like that and what it's worth was in the general day to day business of riding/working your horse. Well I only got to mention the fact that it helped with trust and confidence before we rolled onto the next topic. I forgot to mention though that without a bit and especially in the liberty and cordeo work you need to find a way to guide the nose (so that you can have inside bend), ie following your finger/hand and crucially targeting is a build up to that.
Hey, I'm on a roll again ;-)