Horse and man alike respond poorly to force.
"For what a horse does under constraint, as Simon says, he does without understanding, and with no more grace than a dancer would show if he was whipped and goaded. Under such treatment horse and man alike will do much more that is ugly than graceful. No, a horse must make the most graceful and brilliant appearance in all respects of his own will with the help of aids."

Hoofball control practice

March 8, 2008 video:

Hoofball (a.k.a.: "horse soccer," "equine soccer," or "pushball on horseback") is my 3-year-old Spotted Saddle Horse filly's favorite activity. The short video above shows Baybay gaining more ball control, as well as her absolute love of loping past the ball to reverse it's direction.

Baybay gets very possessive (and competitive!) over her ball:

Knee lift is good for dribbling as well as for gaiting:

Two-minute YouTube video:

I attribute Baybay's love of hoofball games for her increasing skills performing stops, turns, and backs. And, though she sometimes hurries in her enthusiasm for keeping up with the ball, since the time I began using hoofball sessions as a reward for successful arena work, Baybay has found her groove on the trail, usually staying in an efficient, smooth and consistent four beat gait (plus, she's developed a comfortable working lope whenever I ask:) Despite our mutual love for loping around the ball to save it from hitting the fence, we try to continue work on staying in gait while in control of a fast rolling ball: