Sometimes (especially with Arabs) letting them "get the sillies out" only makes them want to act sillier! Start by going off of the assumption that you cannot tire out your energetic horse; rather, you need to convert that physical energy into "mental energy" or attentiveness and curiosity. Then, I think a few things might help:
- Instead of letting her gallop out her energy, let her expend energy constructively. When I've had a bad day with Jax, the next day I will take him out on the lunge line and ask him to listen to my every cue, and normally pair treats with good behavior. We will do transitions (walk to trot, trot to walk, walk to canter, canter to ho, frequent changes in direction, etc) and every time he listens to a "ho" I'll walk up to him, give him a treat, step back and keep the lesson going.
If we have lunged successfully (which we normally have since he is VERY food-motivated, haha!) we will tack up and spend the first bit of our ride walking all sorts of maneuvers-- serpentines, zig zag across the arena, anything but plodding around in a big oval. The key is to keep your cues as quiet and minimal as possible. It's a game to see how little of a cue I can give and still receive a response (eg. barely neck reining or legs-only cues, or trying to get him so sensitive to my body language that I can make him stop with a huge exhale).
- Another thing that helped me is to establish lots of respect on the ground. When she is walking beside you, she should walk at your side, stop when you stop, back when you back, yield the fore or hind based on how you move, etc. At first, you can teach this by pairing verbal cues with hand pressure. I also like to teach that "ho means ho" so that when I say "ho"and hold my hand up, I can wiggle the lead, walk a full circle around my horse, dance around him-- and he won't move.
Basically, channel that physical energy into mental energy--ie. attention!
PS if your horse *is* food-motivated, mannapro apple treats are great and nutritious for training! The trick is, however, never to give a treat that isn't reward for a behavior.
Hope this helps. :)
Edit - Don't switch to a stronger bit! What are you riding in now? The only possible change I would recommend is if you are in a snaffle, try a french link snaffle as your horse might respond better. They are both very mild, and sometimes a french link/two-joint snaffle is considered less harsh than a single-joint snaffle (especially if the "link" is rounded on the edges).
Last edited by existentialpony; 01-18-2013 at 11:21 PM.