You guys touched on the thing that confuses me most with this horse. Her ground manners are PERFECT completely beyond reproach. I've lounged her a few times already, my friend (who owns the farm) will ride with me to the neighbors so I can use their round pen. Its a couple miles away and I can't get there myself with Milly, and my friend can only ride with me once or twice a week with our work schedules, so its not something I can train in often.
The first time was a nightmare, I admit. She was perfect till in came to canter, then she'd start bucking or would put on the brakes and stand there. When I would move at her with the lounge whip she would rear and toss her head. It took a week, but she'll w/t/c with the lounge line just fine now.
I can lead her anywhere, I could take her for a 5 mile walk and she would follow like a puppy dog. If I tried to ride her on said route, she would throw a fit like I mentioned in my first post.
I got her fitted for a saddle at the local tack shop, and the owner is amazing and will personally help me find all my horse stuff. I learn a lot just from talking with her about the different types of bits and what not. Right now we're riding in a nice Big Horn synthetic/leather gaited saddle which fits her perfect, but I am looking for something different right now, all leather. In case you were wondering, no, she's not gaited, she just has a funny back. I'm also using the softest bit I can control her in, and a well padded cinch.
Her bucking went down slightly when we got the new saddle, so I know it was part from people using bad fitting saddles in the past. However I think she does it now as a behavioral problem from getting away with it so much in the past. I started popping her head up sharply whenever she would start to buck, and the correction worked for a few rides. Now she knows what I'll do when she bucks, and she'll rear when I try to pull her head up.
As for sacking her out, that's a term for desensitizing her for trails right? Yup, done that too. Plastic bags, tarps, riding through the barn filled with pigeons, kids running around shooting water rockets off right in front of her, the 8 dogs barking and running through her legs, not a single thing bothers her. Unless were out on the trails, then a pile off wood around a bend will spook her.
As for saddling, farrier, loading; she'll fall asleep saddling, she loads perfect, and doesnt fuss at all with the farrier. She'll stand tied all day if you made her.
She's fine with anything and submissive as can be until I'm up on her back.
Then the attitude comes out. I've noticed that if you try to kick her into a canter, she'll give you a good buck, but if you "kiss" or whatever you want to call in, she goes into a perfect canter. She's very sensitive to pressure, which is half the problem when she spooks. When you have to apply a lot of pressure to make her move forward when she plants her feet, or make her circle to get her out of a bolt, she gets even more panicked.
*sigh* I feel like this is my fault because I’m not confident enough, but when she spooks so bad, screaming, rearing, tossing her head, its spooks me too, I can't help in. It seems like when I finally get my nerves calm and get back into the “We can do this!” mindset, she's already spooking again.
The only areas I have to rope off an arena, or set cones, is in the open 100 acre part of the pasture, or in the 50 acre cornfield. There’s no other area on the farm that is open enough and flat enough to work on.