I appreciate it, guys!! Glad to hear I'm not nuts.
I've been sort of "humoring" her - ie, doing it my own way but not putting her down for her way. So far that's been working pretty well, especially since I'm getting pretty good results with "my" way! Haha
On the turning away to ignore or leave front, it's actually really really amusing. I guess that's not something that the horse program at this barn has really figured out yet because every single one of the horses will very blatantly turn their heads away when the 'pressure' gets too great, like Saddlebag mentioned. I was 95% sure that they're ignoring what's happening to them when they do that....but that was definitely an area where opinions conflicted. Haha Good to know my gut was right!
My thinking is that the eyes are a puzzle piece, of sorts, but that the "whole picture" is really what should be being watched. For instance, with the head turning! Haha
Caroline, I love that "Centered Riding" book by Sally Swift! Definitely a proponent of the "soft eyes" here. Of course, it's so hard to remember to do "in the moment" but yes! My goal is to use soft eyes.
And thanks for the reminder about getting their brains with me. Some horses are just there "in" the action so much and I often forget that all horses aren't like that. That could be the ticket for a few of the horses I'm working with. They just seem so "dead" and maybe it's because they've never been asked to bring their minds into the equation instead of just going through the motions...interesting!
Thanks again for all your thoughts! I really appreciate it.