So I posted a thread about a horse named China that was hard to stop when jumping and that she got very excited very easy. Just a short background on her: She was a team penning horse that was sold to an owner that had no idea how to train a horse to jump and the horse had no idea how to jump. Bad combo. China wouldn't jump, and to make her, her owner would gallop her at jumps to make her get over them. This made China want to take off at the sight of a jump. The owner also showed her at 3" adult hunters without proper training. THEN she was free leased to the barn she's at currently and was a complete basket case. With lots of work, she started getting better. Then, the owner leased her to a girl who absolutely ruined her again. Then the girl went to college and the owner gave her to the barn again, completely screwed up, and that's where I came in.
I got a lot of good ideas and so I rode her yesterday, took the advice and she was absolutely amazing. I walked her at a pleasure walk, riding on the buckle, sitting back and relaxed in the saddle and she was kinda power walking for a couple minutes (tried to trot once) but relaxed and dropped her head and licked her lips and walked nicely with NO contact at the trot, I gave her light contact but I moved my hands forward towards the martingale so she had to find the bit. (she's used to tugging on her mouth and tight reins to she raises her head usually to find the bit, but with my hands a little forward, she started stretching down and forward) and again, her trot was a little quick at first, but I slowed my posting, REALLY relaxed my leg and seat, said easy over and over and she went to a nice easy going trot. With light contact!!! (that was virtually impossible before) Now for one of the bigger accomplishments: when I asked for the canter, I actually gave a little more slack than I had at the trot and asked. Now, her canter is usually at as exciting as her jumping and you have to keep her collected at first and slowly give her rein (kinda to remind her you want her slow) then she starts to relax and you can ride with moderate contact. AND usually, if I sit VERY deep and close my hands and keep a moderate contact with half-halts in the corner, she develops this cute little "baby canter" that I love. Well, yesterday, I decided to be bold and give her her head at the canter. She went straight into her baby canter!!! I was in a slightly forward seat and riding with very light contact and she was slow!!!!!! I actually felt like crying I was so happy.
Then, I started gymnastics and trotted a line of poles. The first time, I wanted to let her do whatever and didn't fuss with her. She cantered after three jumps, and after the line, tried to canter very quickly. So I slowed her back to a walk to calm her down (now she was excited) then once calm, asked for a trot (normal contact) and went to the poles again. I Half-halted in the corners and in between poles (just closing my fingers and sitting) and she was perfect. Before, I had to keep a good amount of contact to keep her from cantering or taking off. Then, after a lot of poles, we added a small X. She wanted to get more excited, and ended up cantering after the X, but was very sane compared to her normal self. We kept practicing, eventually adding another X. She was SOOOOOOOO good. I'm so happy with how far she's come in just a few weeks. I've ridden her four or five times now and she's already calming down again.