When she's "up", you match that, plus 4 ounces! Reverse psychology works with horses; after you say, oh, let me help you run up hill & down dale, over obstacles, etc., she'll say, can't we slow down? :) The worst thing to do is try & squelch her energy.
She is most definitely the type of horse who can just go..and go...and go...and go faster, faster, faster. FOR example, when we trotted today, it started alright, but as we kept going, she just got more and more excited, and decided she liked the addition of speed and began fighting to go into a canter. She can literally go for hours, and even if she's wanting to lay down and die, if you ask her for more, she'll give it. The faster and more uncontrolled you get with her, the more stupid and unfocused and excited she becomes. Even if I did run her into the ground until she was dead tired and ready to collapse (~6 hours later..), I am willing to bet anything she'd just be ready to do it again tomorrow, and she'd anticipate it then.
So then, I'm left with a dilemma. I can't just run her around out of control, or she just learns that she can
run around out of control and it's real easy. I need to work with her on better control (clearly) and regulation of speed, but I can't do that when she's full of wind and piss or I won't achieve anything. I also can't really stifle her energy and speed and excitement, or we get a crowhop like I did today-eh, yesterday.
But, I think you are on to something with the rough terrain. I think that's why she's so much quieter in the forest, with the rocks and water and steep hills, and turns in the path-she needs to be kept busy, and the challenges in the forest just do that naturally for her. On the open ground, the only challenges are the plowed fields, and even over those, she does slow and concentrate a little bit.
Do you think I should spend a lot of time just riding her over plowed ground? Then, when she's (hopefully) a little quieter, with a little less energy, and a little more experienced with being 'out', I should reintroduce her to flat, wide open ground?
You haven't convinced me that you did anything wrong, really. She was fresh and she had company, so the situation was different from some of the other times you've ridden. Sounds like you got her settled down a bit, all in the right direction, you did what you set out to do and came home safely, all in one piece, calmer than when you started out. A lot of people would say that's a gold star day!
Hang in there, it sounds to me like you're doing a lot right!
Maybe...I just don't feel like I am
I am never happy with how I did. There always seems to me to have been something I could have done better, something a more experienced rider could have achieved that I didn't.
Everything that my horse does, everything that happens just suggests to me that my horse is not well trained, that she needs a better rider. I know nothing comes instantly, but...I still get frustrated that I'm not good enough.
My horse is antsy when we first start out and can be go-ey off and on. It's her one big flaw....and we're working on it. A gaited horse trainer gave us some really good advice. As long as she is walking (even though it's faster than we want) I don't punish her or try to shut her down. Instead, I sort of 'milk' the reins one at a time, in slightly slower rhythm than her leading foot. Not really pulling back but just firmer contact for a second. That soft action is enough to allow herself to calm herself down and slow down some, naturally. It really works. If we have room, I've done the circles, too, but she could do circles for an hour without getting tired so that's not as effective as 'milking' the reins or simply halting and pausing until she lowers her head and licks and chews.
I think I may try this. When you get too much in her mouth, my horse gets frustrated and doesn't like you just pulling. Do you think this will work with her?