I have an 8 year old quarter horse I got this Christmas. She is my first horse, and I have been taking riding lessons for about seven years.I am 14 years old. This is my first horse, as stated, and I'm keeping her on our property so I don't have access to a trainer as of now. She is generally pretty good. Our biggest problems are speed and collection.
I THINK I've gotten her to where she is collected- (I can see her neck slightly arched) but I'm not 100% sure how to TELL. She is fine at the walk. At the trot she tends to rush forward, and it is difficult to collect her. I push her forward, and draw back my reins as I was taught. She seems to ignore the cue, and as she will 'arch' her neck she continues as she is or goes faster. I want to get to where I can keep her collected for an extended period of time. Once she arches her neck I release but she quickly brings her head up, higher than it was before. I know she doesn't have a problem with her teeth or back. I've been working with her, but I would still appreciate any tips.
The problem I am most worried about however, is her lope. It is difficult to get her into a nice slow trot (which I prefer to have before I ask for a lope) and when I cue her to lope she just surges forward. I tend to lope circles, and she goes fast and seems to lean to the inside. I assume she is off balance. She isn't very supple at the lope and I have to fight with her to get her to get the circle to my desired size. She works off the leg, and because she refuses to listen to my cues at a lope I decided to try spurs. I'm using the spurs to reinforce my cues- not to ask for speed. I've been using them for two days now. She has always had the speed problem, and I've checked to make sure I'm not accidentally continually jabbing with the spur. I sit back deep into my seat but it doesn't seem to effect her. I assume the extra speed and leaning in is due to a balance problem as I said, but I'm not entirely sure now to fix it. I know a half halt is a solution to this issue, but I'm not quite sure how to preform one. She does fine in a round pen, it is only when I am loping circles in the field. She doesn't like the pressure of the spur and seems to take it as me asking for more speed. I've gotten to where she listens (making her circle bigger or smaller) but she bucks slightly when I lightly apply the spur. So any tips about improving our balance, making our circles better, slowing her down, making her accept the my aids.. whatever you think would be helpful.
The last, but least important problem, is our gallop. I know it is important to fix this, but I'm generally more concerned with our schooling than galloping. When I ask for a gallop she responds nicely, but she seems to turn her head to the left and it is hard to straighten it at such a fast pace. I've tried and failed. She is also reluctant to stop. I have to do a series of hard pull and releases to get her to slow, with the addition of a few circles. (The pull and releases SOUND to me like how people have explained the half halt to me. I'm not entirely sure I understand the full definition or how to apply it. If anyone would care to elaborate it would be very helpful) I have no problem getting her to stop when she is loping.
If anyone would like a go at this I would be MORE than grateful. Thanks in advance!