One thing that has finally hit home is that advancing through the levels is simply about addressing Level 1 with more precision and focus. Sure, there is a lot of fancy stuff in Level 3 and 4 but it's really nothing more than Level 1 with excellence. Something to seriously consider!
So here are some notes and themes from this camp:
- Leg Yields - does your horse yield from your leg or does leg simply mean "go forward"?
- Playing with your horse means getting out there and moving with him; keeping your feet still establishes dominance but that's not play.
- There is a difference between riding the canter and sitting the canter.
- Do you, at all times, hold your carrot stick as an extension of your body or do you hold it as a weapon? The horse knows the difference.
- The "rubber band game" - equalizing drive and draw
- Are you riding for relaxation or precision? Make a decision and use the appropriate strategies/tools.
- When using two sticks for ground play, the idea is to make your arms longer - both sticks should be the same so there is no need to switch tools.
- Make a pattern out of asking for the canter from a relaxed walk to help the horse understand the difference between a gait transition and simply going faster.
- In anything you do, if you don't see an improvement after a few repetitions, you need to change your strategy
- Don't block forward motion - if you're asking for a yield and the horse walks off, try to be persistent and release when he yields rather than falling into the trap of shutting him down and then getting the yield. Let it be a puzzle your horse solves. This way he learns to not go forward on his own.