Thanks for the great tips - and keep 'em coming. Very helpful.
My horse is very good about many of the things you're all mentioning and has always been good about them - she barely spooks and I've exposed her to a lot on rides. When she does spook, she jumps a little, but stays in one place and I don't lose control or anything. I can move all around in the saddle, put on on a noisy coat, etc. without problems. She crosses bridges, crosses creeks, and goes up and down hills pretty well. I neck rein with her and she does that better than direct reining. I know that the trainer she'll probably go to teaches them to be okay with the rider shooting a gun while riding - a very important thing here in hunting territory!
It's the other stuff, the basic riding - side pass, backing, turning on haunches & forehand, and standing still. We definitely have trouble with standing still - during riding, during tacking, during mounting, heck - during grooming. If he fixes that one thing I'll be thrilled!
I wouldn't have thought about teaching her to pony or be ponied - I'll talk to the trainer about that. I can see where that would be very helpful if there was a problem on one of our long rides. If he doesn't teach that, should I just try it with my husband's horse (they're buddies) and then maybe some friends' horses.
Painted Horse - how do you teach them to allow room for your head and legs? If the trainer doesn't teach that, I sure need to. Some days my little darling is more bulldozer than horse! I've had to do some quick ducking to avoid getting knocked in the head.
Again, thanks for all of the ideas! I'm going to hate not seeing her for a month or two, so I'm hoping to only have to do this once!
I was normal...then I got a horse.