Keeping calm when riding a frustrating horse?
How do you do it!?
Let me just say, Dozer and I have come a long way! When I first got him four years ago, he was a big horse who did what he wanted. He would run away with me, refuse to work, and when I wanted him to go faster(normally a canter but sometimes even a trot) he would stiffen his neck and run towards other horses until I'd make him stop(Yes, I had to stop him. He is an 18hh draft and I'm a little 120lb girl). But after a lot of work, we've gotten over those issues. Mostly. Sometimes, he goes back to them. AND IT FRUSTRATES ME!
Recently, I've just been trying to bond with him (After losing my heart pony 9 months ago, I sort of drifted away from the horses for a while) so I've just been sitting on his back while he wanders around the arena. Since starting that(four days ago) I noticed he doesn't like me mounting from the fence (but I have to because he's 18hh!) so I've worked on that and he now waits by the fence and lets me get on easily. Which makes me happy and didn't require any real training.
However, when I was riding him bareback annd brideless today, I asked him for a trot and he ran straight for my dads horse and refused to stop until we got to the horse! I was mad but had him do it again, which normally would have a different outcome for him, but he did the same thing. I tried facing him the other way and asking him to go to the other end of the arena, he still ran right for the horse. I was pissed. Since I had nothing to control him with(I know, I should have gotten off, put on a bridle and approached the situation calmly) I tried pushing harder with my legs, didn't work. So, I ashamedly admit, I started hitting him on the neck(close to his ears) and he did start going somewhat in the right direction, but I didn't want him doing it out of fear that I was going to slap him (And it didn't solve his 'I'm not going to stop till I run into that horse' problem either). After battling for ten minutes and getting pretty tired myself, I got off, put the other horse back in the stall, and got back on(he waited by the fence and let me get on easily- so no, I didn't abuse him and scare him with my hitting) but he still was trunning towards the middle of the arena! I got so angry with him. I ended up slapping him and kicking until he miraculously figured out what I wanted and started doing it. After he went around the arena, sticking to the fence each way, I got off and called it a day.
But just because it ended up working this time, doesn't mean I want to guide him until he gets what I'm asking by slapping him. So, how do I stay calm and think logically WITHOUT giving up and letting him win!?
Sorry for the freaking novel. I'm still slightly mad that it took us so long to do something he is normally so good at with a bridle on.