Thank you everyone! I finally rode today.
I got my friend over to ride the quiet older pony while I was on my mare. I switched bits so that my horse had the kimberwick. I really dislike just bitting them up and having to use force for control, but to me it didn't make much sense to have the quieter, easier horse in the harsher bit while the one who was more likely to give us problems was in the snaffle. So I figured that if I have the bit, I might as well use it.
We started off and already my horse powered to the front. We rode across plowed field (she slowed herself accordingly), then decided to trot them for a while in one of the big open fields to get their energy worked out. My horse was okay at first, but about halfway down the field, she started getting faster and faster and more: "OMG this is FUN!" and began breaking into little canter strides.
So I picked a corner of the field and did circles. Lots and lots and lots and lots of circles. At moments she seemed to be settling (she would give a big sigh and lower her head and even out), but then the next second, she'd be fighting for speed again. She actually crow hopped twice which really surprised me since it's been so long since she's last tried anything like that. But, when she did, I took her around and around and around in really small circles and made her work. Though I don't like to admit it, I think there may have been a pretty good chance that I was sending her conflicting signals and confused/frustrated her. That's no excuse for behaviour like that, but...I am willing to acknowledge she didn't do it out of meanness.
Eventually, she settled. Not really, she was still pretty...eager...to be out, but at least she was not trying to bomb around with her head in the air. My friend (who had been sitting patiently waiting while I worked with my horse) and I went on. I stuck my horse, because she likes to power walk and get so far ahead, right behind the pony's plodding little butt. My friend trotted the pony ahead to make room so that my horse wouldn't be riding her up behind, and I'm pretty happy that my mare didn't try to follow. She walked more briskly and said she wanted to trot a couple times, but a gentle check with the reins or a bend around my leg and she fell back to walk and didn't make a fuss.
It was really windy today, so we went back to the forest to get out of the bitter cold. As soon as we got in the trees, it was like a switch went off and my horse slowed down, paid attention to me and was just awesome. We went down (and up) fairly steep, snowy hills and across water/ice. I took pintophile's advice and didn't look at the water/ice, but held her steady with my reins and legs so she couldn't bulge out, and she went over it all.
Alas, as soon as we emerged onto open field again, she was back to her eager beaver self, but it was manageable. We had no choice but to come home by the road, so I put the pony between her and traffic, and though at first she raised her head and got a bit insecure when cars passed, the pony was a huge help and a really calming influence.
We did a bit of schooling when we got home. She wasn't the best she's been, but she was good enough so I was satisfied to end it.
I am fairly happy with how she behaved. Besides the trotting/field incident, she was good. No spooking, she never bolted or ran away with me, she was really good about listening to all my cues (though she got a little bargy when we were trotting in the field).
I know that the trainer who broke her liked to take her riding up north in the national parks, so I guess it's natural that she is good at forest riding. But around our house, we mostly have open fields so I'd like her to be better about that.
How can I get her to calm down when in the open? I really don't run her, she can't be anticipating galloping off, but it seems that she is.
And how do I get her better and quieter and easier about trotting (this mostly goes along with the question above), mostly in the open?
Do I just ride her lots and get her lots of experience in the open? What can I do to ensure success?
Last edited by AllThePrettyHorses; 12-03-2011 at 03:18 PM.