I've been given a small Nooitgedacht mare to ride (there is a stud farm at the University that I am studying, about 40 or so mares). The problem is that she is very excitable, tends to run forwards at the slightest touch of the leg, throwing her head into the air and going sideways (with remarkable agility might I add). I'm trying to get her to settle down, establish a rhythm etc. but I'm finding it rather hard to work with her as she seems very tense, especially in the arena.
She's far more relaxed on outrides but schooling whilst on an outride is not exactly an option as the outide is through whither high blackjacks and other than a long 'gallop stretch', the ground is rather water-logged. Plus, there is a large ditch to be crossed which my mare is absolutely terrified off.
I don't know a lot about her history as she is new to the stud farm and I can't seem to find out much about where she came from. She's petrified of whips and crops, even just holding one whilst in the saddle, so I think she might have been abused in the past.
At the moment I'm teaching her voice aids to see if that might calm her down slightly and I'm hoping to start lunging her this weekend. But if anyone has any other tips, exercises etc. I'd be very grateful!