I have an 11 year old reg Paint mare, named TRU PRINCESS that has a wonderful disposition. I got her two years ago and up to that point she had 30 days western and two foals under her belt.
I am a relatively inexperienced rider (riding for just two years) and mainly on Princess, about 5 days a week (taking weekly lessons in hunter/jumper and then, most recently beginner dressage, on Princess. We have been working on straightness, forward movement at the walk, trot and canter. We started jumping over a year ago and we both enjoy going over a variety of 2 ft jumps once a week.
I entered Princess into an Introductory level schooling dressage show last summer. She was well behaved and we did well considering it was the first time. The judges thought that we were matched well, they could see that we had a very tight bond, and that Princess was new to dressage. They pointed out that Princess is not balanced, no flexion, and that she was very much on the forehand.
To help Princess build muscle I have been lunging her with side reins and carefully using draw reins at the walk and trot. We go on trail rides (weather permitting) on hills that help her develop her butt muscles. In addition I would also have her jumping a series of cross rails or trotting over cavalettis. Furthermore, I recently purchased a "balance training system". In the hopes that it would help Princess because after a year of taking all of this advice for training Princess she is still crooked in her body, using the front end, walks like a drunk sailor, and holds herself with a ewe neck!
Does anyone have other advice on exercises that I can use to help her learn to use muscles correctly, move forward in a straight line, and flex at the poll?
How long does it really take to get a horse to move correctly? I worry that her conformation is the limiting factor. :( But, I love my pony and want to continue trying.