Thank you all for your responses! I read them Monday morning from my phone but wanted to wait to respond until I was back on desktop.
you're both probably right... as much as I would like to say and believe I am not anxious about it, I don't feel consciously anxious about it from the ground but I do worry about what happens the next time I'm in the saddle and this event repeats itself.
I like Warwick Schiller's videos a lot in general. It's either that video, or one very much like it, that I used as an example when I first started handling her, trying to teach her to lead without getting out ahead of me or pulling me. Maybe even by another suggestion from tinyliny? That's improved a lot and she's gotten quite good at paying attention and usually
leaving me my space when she's on a rope. There are still times we have to stop and work on it especially going into a right hand turn, but she has learned to be so much better about this.
A lot of our work in the round pen lately has been without a lead rope, or with the lead rope looped over the saddle horn if she has tack on. So since I had Monday off, I went back and took her out with only halter and lead rope to try to duplicate events and see how much easier her attention would be to redirect with the lead rope. I couldn't duplicate the scenario on this day - the dogs weren't interested in play.
But back at the barn I almost immediately had the chance to put the rope technique in the first video to use. After I just told you all in my first post that's she's not generally a spooky horse, she spooked in the barn while I was trying to lead her back out, we were in a slightly narrow spot coming around the turn to go down the side aisle and back out into the run-in along the side of the barn. At what, I don't know (there was a different vehicle parked toward the back of the barn, I guess it had something to do with that but I still can't imagine why.) But she jumped sideways and really wanted to come over on top of me. After a tense moment I finally got her to back up a few steps, she wanted to stand and stare at "the thing" but I led her forward without letting her dwell on it, and once we were out into the larger space of the run-in where I felt safer trying to redirect her steps, we spent probably 5 minutes doing what the man in the first video did.
"I don't care what you do... you don't have to worry about what's in the barn, you don't have to worry about moving anywhere specific, but you're not coming into this space. This space between us that I'm putting pressure into, is my space. I'm not putting any other pressure on you but no one is leaving through that next gate until you simply don't exist in this space, and you don't exist in this space even when I go to open the gate. That's the only thing you have to think about in this moment." Just stood there, slowly swinging the end of the lead rope around. We've actually done that before, back in the beginning, but not for a long time. It didn't take her long to figure that out either. The first two times I went to open the gate she stepped into the space and I backed her away with the rope again. When I could finally approach the gate without her stepping into that space, and with her head lowered and calm, then I opened the gate and let her back out with the other horses.
I will say, even though I know it's mostly just an excuse, that she has been cooped up in the barn for about 3 weeks while treating a cut on her leg. It has been so muddy and gross here we didn't want the bandage to be constantly wet and dirty. So she just recently got turned back out with her buddies and has been doing a good job of not being distracted by the other horses while we're in the round pen, but has definitely had some pent up energy for a while. I am definitely not the best horse person, I've had a ton of help from the barn owners and we have both made improvements... it doesn't mean I should ever allow her to crowd me, but she genuinely usually isn't like that anymore.
The first time it happened when I was in the saddle and I fell, I was trying to turn her but she wouldn't budge. There was suddenly this rock-hard statue of a horse under me; I knew what was about to happen but could not get her attention back on me. Our solution if she gets antsy on the trails was always to walk circles, or even walk back up and down the trail we'd just been on if the barn owners at the head of the group had to stop and clear the path of something. That's why we've been doing so much work just standing still and relaxed, standing still while mounting, etc. I haven't been riding very long so that was the first time that I had experienced that, not being able to walk her in circles to distract her. Next time we are in the round pen doing ground work and she's distracted by the dogs, I'm going to try to keep her moving and not let her stop to look at them, and see how that goes. I have only really seen her spook at something a couple of times, so I wouldn't really say she's prone to blow up, but I certainly don't want it to become something that I'm too focused on and let my anxiety over it make her worse.
When I first got this horse a little over a year ago now, she had already learned that she could throw her weight around and pull through a person on a lead rope. I watched a lot of Schiller's videos and others (and had lots of help from more experienced people like the barn owners) and I am happy to say, aside from these spooky moments, that she is thankfully not the horse who's dragging anyone all over the place anymore
The fact that I could get her to stop and take a few steps back inside the barn when she spooked speaks volumes about the corrections that have been made in her training, especially that I did it by myself even if it was a little messy. A year ago if the same thing had happened, she'd have been gone and I'd have been lying on the barn floor. We still have our bad days but when I think of it that way, I'm happy that the good days outnumber the bad.
The barn owner's initial advice was to try to keep the horse facing the "scary thing" but after reading and watching more about it, I think that's most likely better advice for the trails, and even an arena like you mentioned - to keep them moving past the object in question. Whereas in the round pen, there's really no way "past" the scary thing, just round and round in circles, so it's counter productive to be standing there facing the thing. Also, I got a chuckle about the side-eyeing for the cat