When you are asking your horse for a yield, whether it is for forward, backward or sideways, does your horse understand what you’re asking? Are you asking correctly? What I tell my students is, (speaking about softness) start as light as you want your horse to be but go where your horse needs you to go to help it learn. What I mean by that, you have to remember you are teaching your horse, not trying to make your horse.
If you are trying to make your horse you have already lost the game and the respect of your horse and you will have to start big every time. This is what makes horses heavy and hard to work with, when we begin too heavy.
What I mean by start with how soft you want your horse to be is to start as light as possible and then begin to escalate your pressure slowly and as soon as your horse tries (and I mean if he leans away from the pressure) stop the pressure immediately. Always begin with the lightest pressure possible and add pressure slowly to where your horse needs it and soon your horse will be responding at the lightest point. Don’t start too heavy with the make mentality. In my teachings, it’s not about the horse doing what I ask in the beginning, it’s about it learning the concept of what I’m doing.
I always begin on the ground teaching the horse yields from pressure. It learns the concept and when in the saddle it understand the pressure and responds to it from what was taught from the ground.
Know how to teach your horse from the ground to disengage, sideways, turn on the hindquarters, back up from leg pressure, etc. If you get this good for your horse, you may not need to pick up your reins. Wouldn’t that be nice. No more head shaking or bobbing fighting the bit (I haven’t put a bit in a horse’s mouth in ten years, why should I when they respond from the leg) no more foaming at the mouth, their mouth is kept tender.
Give this a try from the ground first. I have never seen anyone strong enough to push anything, let alone a horse, while setting on it. This is true ground work. This is one of the concepts you will be taught at my clinic/workshop in June at K-I-N Stables in Athens, AL. Want details, contact me thru this website.