So I have this new mare, had her 1 year now, after being tossed off too many times by hot arabs. This is a 14'2" QH/App mare who spent years as a kids lesson horse, in the ring and on quiet trail rides, where I would guess they only walked, or she was in the lead.
She is perfect in every way, except she loses it (kicking out, stopping, throwing her head) when the horse in front takes off trotting or cantering. Even if I have a buddy riding with me at a walk and she sees other horses in the distance trotting or cantering. She likes large group rides, until the riders in front go faster.
I play the leapfrog game when I have one other riding with me. Sometimes she settles down after much leg and a swat with the crop.
This past Oct, we went on a three day ride with 150 riders. I stayed near the front with the slower riders. The first day she got upset a few times when horses ran past us, or my buddy trotted ahead. A little better the second day, and the third day she was so tired she didn't care.
She also stops and plants if we are on the trail and a person comes walking or jogging towards us, and I give her leg or the crop. I have just started wearing dull spurs on these rides. She was bad with bikes, but I think she is getting better with these.
Any ideas whether just more miles and work will work this out of her. I admit I haven't been riding her consistently. I probably won't take her out much on the trail in the winter either. I thought I would take her up to the bike rail trail in the spring and lead/make her stand and get used to all the joggers/bikes on the trail.
She's very easy in all other ways, and I think my nerves are getting the better of me. She doesn't spook or bolt, or buck (yet).
There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.
Can you do a shoulder-in? It's a great exercise (easy to do on a trail because you can do it without it taking up any extra room on the trail) that asks connection and for FOCUS from a horse. You might not get it 100 percent first time, but practise practise practise and it will get better where it might be something you can use. I find it extremely helpful to supple (and she is exhibiting tension when she is head-flipping, halting, and kicking out!) and re-focus any horse. You can also check out Jane Savoie's poll suppling exercises on youtube, the +1/-1, +7/-7. Anything that allows you to re-focus your horse - gives her something to do - and that encourages relaxation and suppleness, will help.
Aside from that, wet saddle pads. You have to be consistent in your corrections (little bumps with your leg or on the rein, little taps with the crop if necessary - be sure to RELEASE immediately after your sharp and short correction) and as a result, your horse will become consistent.
....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.