Today though was the first day of my winter vacation from teaching piano lessons, and since the weather is still nice during the day in these parts I decided I'd give Ginger a little work. Usually she's with her pasture mate Duncan, my pony, but my BM put her horse Leo in there so Duncan and Leo have been paling around and generally ignoring Ginger. She seems like a fairly independent girl, but take her away from her pony and she's suddenly buddy sour.
Everything was fine and dandy as far as saddling and getting her to the round pen, but once there she refused to stand still. I free lunged her for a bit, during which she bucked and flat out ran, as well as trotted. I can't get my leg up high enough to reach the stirrup without a stool, so I kept trying to get her to stand next to it. She's always been a pain when it comes to mounting, but today she was exceptionally grouchy. I tried letting her run around again, pulling her in tight circles, and backing. Nothing seemed to work for very long-- she wanted to get back to where she could see the pasture.
She finally stood still long enough for me to get on, and then we made four or five laps around the pen at a walk (no trotting for me!). She did very well once I was up there, though I did have to restrain her to keep her from trotting. I wanted to show her that all I wanted was to walk around a couple times, and we were done.
I know that a lot of the trouble stems from me just not working her consistently enough, especially since I got pregnant. But I'm trying to connect with her better, and get into her head so I can have a better, more respectful relationship with her instead of just trying to show her who's boss through force.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this situation, as far as natural horsemanship goes? I want her to remember that I'm the one in charge, but it's not going to get easier as the months go on.
Firstly, I agree 100% with Elessar on the riding-while-pregnant bit. You're a big girl and that's your decision. I'll let it lie there, and just say good luck and be careful (of course you already are, I'm certain
Based on the information above, I'd say that your main problem is that Ginger is essentially buddy sour, and that issue is prompting her difficulty with standing still. My guess is that, if the buddy-sourness is addressed, her standing issues will get better, if not disappear.
The best thing that I've found for barn/buddy sourness is to work the horse near where they want to be (beside the barn, near their friends), and rest away from the magnet. It can be done on the ground or from the saddle - in your situation, from the ground would be easiest and safest. You don't have to run her off her feet or get her at all stressed, just a solid, forward, working trot with a lot of transitions (changes in direction, speed, and balance as well as gait). Get her breathing a bit and focusing on you while you're near Duncan and Leo, and when she acts like she's giving, focusing, etc., trot away from the pasture and rest, say, near/in the roundpen, in the driveway, by the house, etc. Choose a different rest spot every "rep" as much as possible to avoid creating a new magnet.
The goal is to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. Being close to her pasture-mates gets her only work, not rest or "playtime." Being with you gets her rest and lovins.
If her brain simply will not disengage from her buddies when you move away from them to rest, allow her to go back to them - don't let yourself be dragged, but by all means move energetically in that direction, but immediately push her into a workout when you get there, and don't rest away until she's focusing on you. Look at it as "Going over by Duncan is such a stinkin' good idea we're going to do it, and we're going to stay over there until I
decide that we're going to do something else!"
Good luck, and congrats!