One of the things we build a strong foundation is loose rein work. Your horse should walk, trot, and lope on a loose rein and a nice relaxed manner. They shouldn’t feel a need to rush off and duck and dive. Working on our lateral flexion we will do lots of one rein stops if a horse goes faster than we would like.
This serves a dual purpose of slowing a racy horse and also gets them even softer! It can also help a horse be more responsive to direct reining and can help them pick their shoulders up, especially helpful for a horse that likes to drop a shoulder and refuse to take a lead.
When starting colts we rarely if ever pick up on both reins while moving forward. We teach the colts to want to stop on a loose rein off a verbal and seat cue.
The first weeks of riding we do a lot of single rein direction, on a loose rein. This makes for soft, relaxed partners! And continues for the length of their riding career!