Thanks Eole (Merci Nathalie!)! You know what, we got the lead rope with the chain and never even used it. Turns out it's unnecessary. Overall, he leads like a sweetheart. We did a bunch of ground exercises and he was almost flawless. He will turn, back, walk, trot, halt, whatever she asks for. But he is also beginning to know and trust us, so I believe that is making a difference. When I went out to get him out of the paddock today (no hay or treats in hand), he neighed at me. Made me very happy.
This doesn't mean he is always perfect, but in my (totally unbiased ;) opinion, he is a very good horse trying hard to do a good job. For example, I was leading him out of the riding arena tonight (no pulling on the lead rope, just walking by his neck) and he got a little ahead of me as we got close to the gate so I made him do a circle and I could see his brain going "Oh, sorry, I got a little carried away there, I'll just walk alongside you very slowly now". Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but this horse is incredibly intelligent and forward-thinking. I rode him tonight for the first time. I did a few patterns with him at the walk/trot and I would do one pattern and I swear, the next time he would try to repeat it. He takes the lightest of cues and is paying attention all the time.
So, back to my daughter leading him. He no longer rushes into stalls. Though he tries to eat cat food, LOL. There is a big dish of cat food on the floor near the cross-ties and he will lunge for it, grab a mouthful, then spit it out. But now that we know he has this in his head when he comes in, we make sure to just give him a little jerk when we get near it (really, a tiny little tug coming from a 10-year old) which is usually enough to get him to re-focus. Again, this is with a regular lead rope attached under his chin, no chain over the nose. We find he has calmed down a bit now too, like he's settled in. But because he's so smart and sensitive, we will always need to stay a step ahead of him, otherwise, he will find ways to amuse himself.
The bridling remains a challenge. My daughter has a hard time getting it on because he keeps sticking his head in the air and to be fair, she's pretty sloppy, like most 10-yr olds will be, so the nose band is over his eye or something, which I'm sure really annoys him. We've tried training him to put his head down for a treat, but he grabs the treat and puts his head right back up. He eventually gives in after 2-3 tries, but I don't want this to become a bad habit. So tonight, I put the reins over his head, placed them directly behind the ears, and applied gentle pressure on the poll until he lowered his head. He then accepted the bit readily. The trick with him is to be slow, gentle, but firm. Trying to rush things is the worst thing we can do with this horse. Maybe with any horse, but hey, I'm learning all over again here, so I only have this guy to learn from right now!