Ask - Receive - Release - Reward

Sometimes, I catch myself of asking something from Hafl, getting an answer but then forgetting to release. Always keep the following rule in mind: Ask – Receive – Release - Reward. It is not that I am not rewarding him vocally or by patting him that I forget – it is rather that I keep my muscles tense and thus, giving him a wrong impulse. 

Let’s say we are working on the lengthening of trot steps: I keep my core tension high through the corner, keep my inside leg against the outside rein (if it results in shoulder in the better!) and keep my upper body firm and still. As soon we exit the corner,  my core engages Hafl to start swinging his back more and step from behind, let the energy through from hind quarters to the bit. That said, I sometimes succeed in doing fine, but many times I am not letting the swing through as my shoulders are not relaxed enough for example. So, I am still holding the tension whereas I should already relax and reward him for doing fine. We need to work on that every single day as this tension also keeps him alert and tense as he is still expecting something to come where there is nothing left to do for him as he is already reacting to what was asked.

On Monday, I was literally letting go of the reins a bit after the corner and a good preparation of a trot extension. I could immediately feel him stepping nicely under and not fighting my hands but softly seeking the contact. WOW! What a difference! As soon as I was getting too tense again, he started to lean heavily on the bit.

Rewarding is very important, I often combine voice/patting and treats as for him, treats are the best motivation. And then the circle starts from the beginning: asking for something, getting an answer, release and reward:

And never ever forget to smile :)

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