I have an ex racer. He was on the track for eight years, off the track for about a year and a half now. He's been in my hands for seven months. He is very girthy as well, and now he's learned that he can puff himself up. I do the gradual tightening of the girth, I usually tighten once when I put the saddle on, then I go about my business, pick his hooves out and maybe put on his splint boots,then tighten again, then put his bridle on and walk him out to the mounting block then tighten on just before I mount up. He usually waits until I am fully mounted and in the saddle to walk off, so we're working on that.
Get him in the round pen and do join up, lunge him, whatever you want to call it. Make sure there are LOTS of directional changes and changes of pace, because controlling his feet will establish you as leader and get him to start respecting you. Free lunging will be easier for him to understand than a lunge line will, since they aren't used to having somebody in control of their head.
How long has she been off the track for, and how old is she?
Here is a link to a forum specifically for OTTBs and OTSBs. It has been VERY helpful, since all of the people there have lots of experience re-training and dealing with these horses. Also I recommend finding a trainer who has experience re-training OTTBs, even if they don't ride in your chosen discipline, OTTB's have a certain way of thinking that's almost backwards from how regular riding horses think, and a trainer who understands that will be invaluable. You can also PM me if you want me to share some of my experiences. Exracers.com Forums - Home