Okay, so I have a 10-year old Warmblood/TB gelding whose wild side comes out each spring. I'm boarding at a barn with a nice indoor arena and open trails up in the hills. I'm thrilled to be able to use these hills, as it's great conditioning work and my horse gets bored in the arena, but lately he's been getting far too overexcited whenever we go up there.
He will walk on a loose rein up the road until it opens up, at which point he starts getting really wound up. He will spook at nothing (and he isn't normally spooky), and "forget" how to walk. He builds himself up to the point where he pops up his front or back end, or bucks and takes off for a stride or two before realizing he isn't supposed to do that and stops again. He will do this the entire time we are up there, even if we just finished our arena-work and go up to do a short cool-down hack. The hill isn't something new to him - we've ridden up there countless times, and he doesn't do this in the summer/fall. He does this whether he is alone or with another horse.
I've been trying to get him to relax and focus on me, and have been extremely careful to make sure I stay relaxed and soft too, and don't hold or brace against him. It doesn't seem to matter what figures I do, what shortening/lengthening exercises I try, or how I move his shoulders or hindquarters, I can still feel him building up to something. And that something is usually a buck and a scoot forwards. It isn't a mean buck where he tries to get me off, he just has too much excited energy he doesn't know what to do with.
Any advice on what else I could try? I don't mind strong or excited, but I don't like having to worry about him bucking whenever I go up there (he has a big buck!). And the spooking-at-nothing is really annoying - half the time I think he is genuinely worried about something, the other half I think it's an excuse. I've been ignoring that for the most part, since I don't need to get in a big fight with him and make him even more tense, or give him more of a reason to overreact. He had some time off earlier this winter, but he's been in regular work now for a couple months - and I'm starting to get him back fit and ready for eventing season, so I really would like to use those hills!