Training scales, achieving looseness and rhythm
I haven't posted too much here but enjoy the wealth of information from the forum and I was hoping some kind knowledgeable people could give me some tips or exercises for achieving looseness and rhythm.
The mare I ride is a sensitive, speedy and very clever arab x hanovarian. As a younger horse she evented with good results in the dressage phase but her last owner was a young girl and I fear she has spent the past few years being a fun, fast teenagers ride competing in mounted games and showjumping with little if any dressage or schooling. We have managed over the past year to persaude her to lower her head and neck so that now at least her ears aren't stuck up my nose permanently but I find that when she is working in a longer outline she progressively gets more on her forehand and speeds up. If I try to half halt to lift her off her forehand and maintain the rhythm she tenses and hollows her back.
We have had her back, teeth and saddle checked within the last three months, infact the back lady (who comes every 6 months) has been today and is pleased that she has developed more topline, better muscles on her quarters and appears to have less tension or knots in her muscles.
Should I continue and hope she settles? Am I doing the right thing or does any one have any extra tips or exercises I can try.
I always try to do plenty of transitions to keep her off the forehand and we have been doing lateral work for suppleness. She is incredibly reactive to the leg but instead of pushing off from her hind end she will raise her head and ping forward from the shoulders. This is not so violent as when we first had her but is still visible with each transition.
We are not aiming to take the dressage world by storm but I enjoy schooling and would love to do some unaffiliated tests. I also feel she will benefit from being more relaxed and happy in herself if she can accept the aids and become 'loose'.
I will add we tried some cavaletti work but it appears she finds anything remotely resembling showjumping as an excuse to go even faster with her head even higher, she failed to even lift her feet over the pole and I wonder at how we both didn't end up in a heap on the floor!