On Friday Apollo and I ventured out for yet another rainy ride.  Out came the outback duster for another rather leaky trial!  We did our six mile loop and he felt great as we picked up the pace from Wednesday's trip around the same loop.

I took a picture at one of the bridges we cross on this loop because in my opinion, a good "go forward" cue is a trail rider's best friend.  Much more so than a good "whoa" cue.  We need to be able to get our horses over anything that crosses our path and it is impossible to get them accustomed to every situation that may occur, therefore our horses need to respond quickly and with full understanding when we say "Go".  

Horses move forward by nature so when a horse is started under saddle they often just start making those first steps on their own.  The lazier ones will get a better idea of what you mean when you apply leg pressure, make a clucking sound, or use a tap of the whip.  The first time most people find out they have no "go forward" cue is when they come to something that the horse refuses to go over or by.  With this in mind I think it is very important to do my best to teach a horse to respond to the cue as soon as possible but understand that I will need to reinforce it a few times in a real-life situation.  I practice my "go forward" cue by asking my horse to stop to move forward.  The response should be almost immediate.  Then I am sure to stop applying any of the aids so the horse knows he did something right.  I will do many repetitions in order to sharpen the skill and to be sure that the horse isn't mistaking  my pressure and release for something else he did at the same time, such as give to the bit, swish his tail, step a bit sideways, or lower/raise his head.



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