I have a 4yo TB mare. I'm getting ready to do our first show, and I need some help with the dressage test. For the free walk, she will stretch down and out, but she won't keep a good forward walk. If I ask her to go forwards more, she just stretches out, not down. I've tried squeezing my reins like sponges, but it has no effect on her. Also, in the halt, I can't get her to be straight. She always swings a hip out or takes a step at the last second. If I really try to squeeze her straight and into the halt, she tosses her head to avoid the "wall" that I made.
Is there anything I can do to help her stay forwards, and stretching down and out at the free walk? Is there a special way to ask for the halt so she HAS to stay straight?
Is this a matter of time and practice, or am I not asking her correctly?