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I have been having a problem with my mare Annie. Before I explain the problem, let me tell you about her background.
She was my aunts when born and before she came to me, so all of this is certain. She was trained in a hackamore when younger, and then switched into a snaffle bit. From what I was told she was always very well behaved with little to no issues. She ended up going to the Kentucky Horse Park for a children's therapy program, and had been there for a few years until last year, when my aunt gave her to me.
Now here's where my problems start. She is amazing when being led, or even following a person while someone is riding her and using the reins. But as soon as I try to ride her without someone, she seems obviously confused. Not stubborn or unwilling, but confused. I believe this is because of the time that she spent in the therapy program. She was always led, and never told what to do from a rider. I have tried a hackamore, and tom thumb, a plain grazing bit, a snaffle... The one thing i've had some luck with is the hackamore, but I still don't seem to have total control, and she still doesn't completely seem to understand.
I don't think I am doing anything wrong, or that there is a problem with my tack, because, like I said, she is fine following someone with subtle cues and signals.
Any suggestions, or anyone with somewhat similar of a situation/ experience?
 

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When there's a problem of understanding, I try to make it as clear and simple as possible. For example, with your horse bridled, you stand next to her and turn her head. Good. Mount up immediately and do exactly the same thing from the saddle. One tiny step, something she should get pretty fast.

Sometimes I will put an action to a word command, make it a trick so to speak, then apply aids which soon get linked to the action.

An assistant would help. (But you don't want another horse around for this.) Maybe treats. Think it through into small steps, and you'll probably find your own way without much trouble.:)
 

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She's been taught to pay attention to the leader above all else. Now, you simply have to wean her from a leader and teach her that the rider is now the one she needs to listen to.

Put her back on a lead, only make it a longeline and slowly have the leader move away from her and do less and less controlling.
 

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One thing I always end up doing in the first rides with an unbroke horse is this... and I know it sounds weird but it works.

In a snaffle, to get them moving when they are stuck instead of using a crop or something I'll lean forward, slide my hand up the reins, and bend their head to the side and forward (instead of back)... essentially I'm creating the action of a person leading the horse while on their back. I also apply the opposite leg. Once they take a step I reward. Usually after this they are unstuck and walking forward, so I'll start doing some direction changes to keep them focused on that.

Bizarre, I know.
 
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