Previous posts have had references to how Confetti can be dull to leg aids, stubborn, and generally lazy. While I appreciate that she is no longer hyper-sensitive to anything that might possibly be a leg aid, it’s become clear that we are too far on the other end of the spectrum.
The first (and primary) way that this is being addressed is by being very mindful of my leg aids. Leg needs to be off if I do not really mean to ask. If leg is on, it needs a response. If a response is not forthcoming, there is a not-quite-immediate escalation with the dressage whip.
One day last week, I decided to try adding small English spurs. Two-point and heel-dropping work has been suitably consistent that I was (mostly) confident there would be no unintentional spur contact. Similar rules applied as above: calf pressure or very light spur, escalate next to corrective spur (not hard, but a ‘you really did feel that!’ spur), then finally to dressage whip as needed.
‘Fetti was perfectly content to tune out the spur part of the time. This was particularly evident when asking for a larger walk… but she’s never good at that, so no great surprise there. There were definitely times when a light cue was still insufficient. It’s not a magic fix, and I did not expect it to be: I trained the responsiveness out, I need to retrain some of it back in.
The most exciting part of the whole thing was how forwards she was, though. The spurs may not have addressed ‘dull to leg aids’, but they fixed ‘lazy’, and I don’t say that lightly. We achieved a Big Trot heading away from home at least twice. She offered several canters in places she doesn’t usually. I was able to ask for and get some extra effort up various hills – I know she’s capable, but she frequently cannot be bothered to keep going. And despite what MapMyHike says, we definitely hit a new speed flying up one of the fire roads, when a brisk canter shifted a few gears further up.
Verdict: useful occasionally for Serious Conditioning Rides, but not to be used on average rides or rides where I do not desire to lose all of her laziness.