Our last few rides have been great. I know part of it is the new area - she's still a little confused over which way is home, so she doesn't really have a chance to get herself all "het up". But I also realized I was asking WAY too much of her - she's an energetic Arab, and I've spent her entire life riding hard, and now suddenly I'm asking her to ONLY walk? I realize this is fine on a "properly" trained horse, or to expect it from a young horse, but for an older set in her ways gal, it was just too much for her. Our rides now consist of several good hearty trots (working on TROTTING, she has this uncanny ability to canter literally in place, so she can break into a canter at a split second) and we're now doing a bit of cantering. Yesterday she was AMAZING. We have this new huge over/under cross country complex (I'll post pics at the end) and we spent an hour and a half trotting and cantering over it and under it and going up and down the hills, and then trotting and cantering through the huge Pan Am water complex. She was amazing - happy to canter on a light contact, very responsive and not bolting! She even *GASP* got a little TIRED! She was content at one point to walk on a loose rein while Ashley cantered Justus all around us!
She's also walked home, on a totally loose rein, completely relaxed the last 3-4 rides. I get the occasional jig now heading OUT (like she used to), but she calms down immediately and is happy after we do a good hearty endurance trot across the field or down the trail.
She's just a happier horse in general now that we're learning to compromise again. To be perfectly honest, I think I got caught up in a few of the best trainers on here and believing my horse HAD to OBEY me at every second. And I'm sorry, she doesn't - so she's not happy to plod like a 30 year old lesson horse for 5 miles. She IS happy if I let her go for a nice steady trot on a light contact. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially since I mungled up her training myself and caused this problem. She's always been willing to compromise with me, and she's my forever trail horse, so compromise we shall!
Thanks for all the help and advice, I will say that when she DOES get silly, our very best bet is tight knee to nose circling! It's the only thing that really teaches her "This is not working, just listen to me." But we haven't had to do any of it for several rides now!
(Photos of the complex)