Reward Your Horse
Horses are very sensitive animals and respond extremely well to a well deserved “thank you”. That could be in the form of relaxing the contact with the bit, or taking the leg off or simply patting your horse on the neck.
Last week I gave a clinic to 14 kids ranging from 6-15 years old. They all practiced several excercises testing their skills at geometry. After several unsuccessful attempts at riding a correct circle, they tried to ride the circle while patting the inside of the horses neck. This solved many problems–first it relaxed the rider, then it relaxed the horse, and finally it improved the gaits of each horse.
Remember that the foundation of the training scale is rhythm and relaxation. A tense rider creates a tense horse and that is a formula for disaster.