Back to square one? Cantering, gripping..
So, this is my first post here so I hope it's a good one.
Up until a year ago I knew nothing at all about horses. I had only ever ridden them as a child under supervision on a farm.. and most of them were either ponies or just guided trail rides at a friends farm.
Fast forward, I'm an adult and I got hired for a job that requires me to ride a horse in a theatrical show.
The horses are very well trained and taken care of and I was trained to ride on the job. I thought to myself.. "I get paid to learn to ride? Sweet!" Because lessons are expensive.
I got about 2-3 months of lessons, 2-3 times a week before I started riding in the show. I was taught how to tack and maintain/care of the horses and to find my "seat" and sit the trot/canter etc.
We ride with english saddles and most of our training is to ride with our seat/legs vs. our hands.
In the show, there's a predetermined pattern/marks that I must hit, including walking in a big circle, and cantering out into the center of an arena in a straight line and stopping.
When I started training, the horse I ride (a friesian) was a veteran horse who was not only an old guy, but he'd done the show thousands of times at this point and you could literally ride him with almost no cues because he just knew what to do without much intervention from the rider. Which was great for me, being a green rider.
But, he retired and we now have a new MUCH YOUNGER Friesian who has far more energy, far more get up and go, and needs way more direction from the rider to get him to go where he's supposed to go. He's very responsive to leg cues, but his mouth is very sensitive and with me still being a very green rider.. I'm sort of struggling. Our horse trainer had been riding him/working with him for several weeks before they felt confident enough to allow us newer riders to ride him.
The first time I rode him, it was great.. but I didn't push/ask for a canter at all, we only walked/trotted everywhere. He was very responsive and I had fun riding him. There are 3 of us who ride the same horse, and two of us are very green riders.. so I'm assuming part of the reason it's become more difficult is because he has 3 different people doing 3 different things while riding him.
What has happened to me lately, is that during the 3 points that we must canter, there's no issue with asking him.. he's more than willing to go, but he's got so much energy that when he does go, it's either into a full on run/gallop in which he takes me all the way to the other side of the arena before he stops, OR... it feels like he's bolting so I get scared and grip and since we wear spurs, I accidentally spur him when I grip, which causes him to buck and all sorts of other fun things that's not good for either of us.
Now, I'm scare every time I ride because I've had this problem the last 3 or 4 times in a row that I've ridden him and I'm terrified of getting bucked off or worse.
The spurs I have are the short nub type, and we're only supposed to use them as an enhancement to our leg aids, so I really shouldn't be touching him at all with the spurs unless there's a reason and he's so responsive he really doesn't even need them.
The other issue that we're dealing with is that he likes to paw CONSTANTLY in the sand, when he's standing still. I've been told it's because he's bored, and he's made himself fall already once by digging a hole and tripping in it. So we've started to try to stop him from doing it, but that has been causing him to dance around and be fidgety and when you ask him to stop with one leg, he just switches to the other one.. and well, it's exhausting.
So, any tips, tricks, thoughts on how I can improve all of these things would be greatly appreciated.
I'm trying to get in more riding lessons/practice with my trainers, but we're so busy it's difficult to get in to do it.