Vibrating the reins -moving the fingers should ask the educated horse to go deeper, rounder. Educated horses that hang or yank definitely should be brought to attention by use of the leg. Even uneducated horses can understand a quick request for forward, and find it more difficult to hang.
Since this is horse with which the aim is to simply establish contact, the steadier you can be with your fingers and hands, the better.
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
I think a big part of our issue was that when I dropped the contact because she was leaning and she fell, it was to her knees so I didn't have any reaction time to boot her forward, since I was so off kilter.
That is because you should have put the legs on before dropping the contact. Legs first!
And as Merrygoround said, just one rein at the time; the inside one, slightly.
Instead of dropping the contact, take your time to soften your elbows and your forearms muscles. Sometime it is not the horse that is leaning/pulling, it is our arms that are stiff and contracted.
Good point Alibi! She has a HUGE stride, so I keep having to remind myself that what feels like forward, isn't actually!
I rode tonight, figured that I would just fart around bareback after I worked her in side reins on the lunge line. I wasn't expecting anything, just to cool her out, but she was so loose and relaxed, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to try picking her up.
Sweet baby Jesus what a new horse! She was happy, forward (we just walked at first), accepting of the amount of rein that I gave her and also my leg. She did do a bit of jigging at first, when I closed my leg to ask her to move forward as I was slowly taking up contact. She settled right in and was really light in my hand, but still walking forward. No star gazing, leaning, sucking back, or bucking. We did a bit of trot work, with the same results. I didn't push it, but lots of patting and back on the loose rein. She was much better to the right than the left, but not bad. Working the bit, relaxed through her jaw and poll.
I think I'm going to have the saddle fitter come back out, and also drop my irons a notch or two.
I rode tonight, figured that I would just fart around bareback after I worked her in side reins on the lunge line....
Sweet baby Jesus what a new horse! She was happy, forward (we just walked at first), accepting of the amount of rein that I gave her and also my leg.
While I am always a proponent of correct saddle fitting, I'd try lunging her in the side reins and then riding with full tack to see if it's the lunging in side reins that has warmed and suppled her.
I put my surcingle over the saddle, which makes the transition MUCH quicker.
Just be forewarned, you may need to bring a longer girth for it than what you've been using.
It's also FABULOUS for what you're doing, because the pressure in the saddle mimicked your pressure as a rider (sans finesse and seat aides of course) so you can get to the bottom of this more efficiently.
It's also great for green horses to get used to the feeling of seat and thighs on a saddle without the danger to a rider.
Do keep us updated. I'm interested in hearing how this all progresses.