Half-halt mistakes? Re-teaching rein cues?
We're going basic as blue, and while my mare's good with extension, she's not so good on collection. Her theme is to stretch out; her favorite gaits are the gallop and walk, when she really gets long and has her farthest-reaching strides. However, she responds poorly to stretch-down cues in trot and a little better in canter. I figure we should be able to have both basic collection and basic extension in one gait, not trying to get one or the other in all the gaits. If I don't block her with my seat often, she gets a tense and fast gait when asked for transitions. So I wanted to master the half halt in walk. On the ground, she can keep her nose low and almost give a Spanish trot over 3ft spaced poles. She responds quick to verbal cues but has a tendency to run in trot (someone told me she looks like she runs away from her hind legs in order to not use them). When I close my legs, she changes speed, and if I add hand, she sticks her tongue out and extends the stride and increases the pace. I practiced in trot and walk, from the tiniest pressure until she responded, and once I reached the pressure that she responded at, it was her sticking her nose up. Should I continue giving the cue until she yields? Currently I've been giving up when I meet resistance longer than 3 seconds, I didn't want to be aggravating her if I was asking something she didn't understand.
I'd love, love, love, to re-teach her response to the reins, but I really don't know where to start, all the articles I've read are for Western horses... she's English now. She's responsive to light aid, but sometimes not correctly. Our latest barrier is that while I try to keep her straight, she drifts away from the fence, so I bring her back, and she might try drifting again or rubbing me on the fence, and after I correct that she bites the bit and goes dead to the aids for about 10 seconds. I don't use a lot of pressure, only enough to break one horse hair, and I don't like a constant pull because she leans on me if I do so.