I have a 4 yr old OTTB mare that I am retraining right now. Her last race was in June and I got her in July. She gets turned out during the day and in a stall at night. I rode her a few times in August and September but have mostly just given her time to chill until the beginning of november. First few times I rode her all she wanted to do was run and buck, now she will walk and trot quietly on a loose rein or on very light contact. She does gradual w-t-h-w-t transitions, backs up and has been walking and trotting quietly over poles and very small cross rails. I can trail ride her around the farm at a walk and she went to her first show this past weekend to chill and hang out and was pretty good.
My problem is the canter. I have cantered her a few times and she was pretty good. Not too fast and coming back to a walk fairly easily. The last few times I have tried to canter have been very very fast and she has been trying to buck again. She tries to cut in and there are jumps in the ring so I have to steer however she seems to take the contact as me telling her to run. If I give her head and try to get her to relax she tries to buck and I have no desire to get bucked off at that speed. Most things I have read about people with similar problems says to only let them canter for a few strides and then bring them back however I can't get her to stop at all, she just gets faster. I hate to try to canter her on such a small circle (because of where the jumps are) so I go around the outside of the ring but I can't let her do that anymore either because she gets going so fast I feel like she is going to fall around the turn. I have lunged her at a walk and trot a little bit but not the canter because I don't feel like I can hold on to her. I don't try to canter that often because there are usually other people riding in the ring at the same time as me and I don't want to make them stop what they are doing so I can gallop around for 10 minutes before I can stop her. At the walk and trot she is fine with the other horses and is fine with them cantering around and jumping.
I have riden a lot of OTTBs however I have never started one straight from the track so I am still trying to figure out the best way to re-teach her. I have made a ton of progress with her in a fairly short amount of time (she has probably only had about 30 rides on her if that) considering I used to get on her and she would bolt and then I would get her stopped and she would walk about 10 steps and rinse and repeat. So I am definitely super happy with her progress but I am not sure the best way to go about fixing the canter. She has been trotting jumps pretty well now and definitely understands leg and rein at the walk and trot. I feel like im kinda at a standstill until I can at least somewhat control the canter. I don't want to jump anymore until I have the canter under control because I don't want her to jump it and canter away (right now they are small enough she just pops over them and keeps trotting) and learn she can gallop away from the jumps.
Another side note is that I have mostly just been cantering to the right. She picks up her right lead and not her left (odd, I know) and when we try to canter left she gets very upset around the turns because she is so off balance. She is pretty supple to both directions but I have been mostly working on just staying straight and keeping it simple until she fully understands the leg and hand completely.