Help with giving to the bit, bending, leg pressure, bcking and stopping..
Ok, my 15 year old gelding has many issues.. He came to me like this, except in even worse shape.. I have been working with my horse for months trying to soften him up.. When I first got him a few years ago, he was VERY hard in the mouth, stiff in his body and had NO idea what leg pressure was. In order to make him stop (from any gait) you had to start breaking him down a good distance from where you intended to stop him.. Even at a walk. In the round pen or arena, he stops almost immediately for me. Anywhere else, he ignores me for a bit and stops when he is good and ready. I have used steady pressure, give and take pressure, one rein stops and everything else I could try for him.. He just doesn't want to listen very well out on the trail. He stops worlds better now than he used to, but he still takes quite few steps (or strides if he is cantering/trotting) before he stops... I have tried backing him up when he doesn't stop fast enough but his backing is terrible.. He pins his ears out of frustration and attempts to rear if you try to back him more than a few, small, crooked steps.. He gets very irritated very easily.
And for the leg pressure.. He barely listens to it and gets very annoyed with it. As soon as my leg touches his side, he wants to go forward or go faster. Or sometimes when I use it to turn him while in motion, he turns too wide or too tight. There is no in-between for him.
Now what I don't understand is this.. On the ground, he moves off leg pressure flawlessly, bends like he should, backs with barely a touch very straight for as long as I want him to. I can put pressure on the reins and move him anywhere without a problem in the world. I just don't get what the problem is in the saddle... He isn't a very flighty horse, almost nothing phases him. He has a very collected and cool attitude about things, but he still has spunk to him.. I just don't know what the deal is..
Any help would be greatly appreciated!