So I am hoping you guys can give me some advice with some issues I have been having with Gypsy. First off, when I ask her to canter from a trot she break into a VERY fast trot for a few strides then she will canter. She has always done this but it never really bothered me before. When she picks up her quicker trot, I half halt her, and ask her to canter again. The problem is I don't seem to be making any progress with this. Is there something else I should be doing?
The second problem is that once she canters, she takes off at a run, and it takes a lot for me to half halt her and bring her back. It isn't like she is bolting, it just is a VERY fast canter. And half the time when I half halt her, she will break into a running trot, rather than a slower canter. One person has told me that I can't allow her to do this, and must half halt her right away - which is obvious - but she just doesn't half halt right away. Another person (and I don't really know her experience) told me to allow her to canter like this, until she is tired then continue to push her on my terms so she figures out not to do this. However, it seems counter intuitive, and Gypsy is the kind of horse that has seemingly endless energy. So what should I be doing with this?
The third problem is that when she is cantering her balance is off. She turns corners with her shoulder dropped, almost at a counter bend and leaning far into the corner. I have heard this described as 'turning like a motorcycle' if that helps you. She has fallen (slid around a corner) with a rider on her before when the footing wasn't great. I am afraid that she will do this again unless she learns to carry herself correctly. I use my leg and rein aids to ask her to lift her shoulder and for a more correct bend, but she doesn't really respond. Any advice?
Also, yes she responds to my half halts and other rein and leg aids at the walk and trot just fine. Its just at the canter that she decides to stop listening all together. Oh, and I am riding in a western saddle (due to the lack of a well fitting english saddle) with a snaffle bit if that makes any difference.
Any advice is appreciated. I am not SUPER experienced, so please make it as clear as possible.