My horse has always been a very easy ride. I used to be able to ride her on the buckle over 2'6" courses and she'd just plod along willingly and calmly. This year, she's moved to three different barns. Once in Jan. For interschool, where she was ridden by many other people who all called her very easy and would often fight over riding her. Near finals, the girl who would be riding her asked me how to keep her from getting heavy on the forehand. This was the first sign of trouble. Her attidute had changed a little bit and realizing the barn wasn't a happy place for her, I got her checked by my vet before moving her near me after interschool. The vet said she was healthy but needed her teeth floated. I blamed the behavior on her teeth because soon after, she was back to normal. After a few weeks, however, I noticed she'd get heavy in the mouth and pick up speed every jump. Nothing too severe, because she'd stop when I asked. I still worked on transitions every ride and didn't ride in her mouth or anything. Nearing july (right before we were supposed to move to yet another barn) I was having issues with her brakes. She had become increasingly heavy and strong at the canter and while jumping. When we moved, the issue got worse, then better for a while and now its worse than ever.
Every time I work with her now, I lunge her for about 15 minutes to make sure she's listening. Then I do transitions at the walk. Collected walk, extended walk, medium walk, halt. I change up the order and the steps and add in circles and surpentines as well. When we go across the diagnol or near a jump she gets a little excited so I keep doing whatever I'm doing until she calms down.
Then we do trot work. Her trot is very energetic at first and takes several laps before she starts to relax. I do the same transitions I do at the walk, trotting. I do circle after circle practicing on one lap very slow, one lap fast, and alternate, stopping occasionally. When we work in the middle of the ring, it takes a little more time for her to calm down, so I do a lot of work there. Eventually, she calms down and I can ride easily on light contact and slow her with my seat and have her pay attention. After I decide she's behaving well, I add in jumps. (lately they've been fairly small, I just want calmness, not height) and for the most part, she's pretty good about maintaining rythm and speed and listening to aids, and stopping.
After working forever
on trotting exercises, I add in the canter. I generally like to go a lap at a gait before adding in transitions or circles, or whatever.. But at the canter, I go straight into transitions now because of how forward she can get. At first, she's very tense and doesn't give to aids at all and it takes a few steps before she drops down to whatever gait I'm asking of her. But no matter how long we work at the canter, she's still very quick. I do circle work until she's dripping sweat. Her stops at the canter are never what they used to be and I'm still not happy about them. Cantering jumps isn't too bad as long as I ask for a downward transition soon after the jump. Two jumps in a row equals wayy too much speed and not enough control.
I'm worried about what's causing this. I haven't ridden aggressively or in her mouth.. I sit at a full seat now and maintain contact and I don't get afraid or nervous.. She just wants to go! All the time.
I'm wondering if it was because of the change in her bit. She had a regular copper full cheek snaffle all her life but because of poor fit I decided to get her a D ring snaffle with copper rollers. Maybe she doesn't like it?
Is there anything else that could be the cause of this? Anything I could do to change this?
Videos of her jumping from oldest to most recent:
(my friend riding)