I bought a mare this summer - 10 years old, lovely mover, nicely broke in the arena and reasonably brave out on the trails. She’s already a spicy and anxious/super-alert horse with a big walk and a zippy little trot, but she’s happiest in the lead – we run into issues following other horses. At a walk, she can be a little impatient and visibly annoyed, especially if the horse in front of her is going slower than she wants to go, but we can re-set with half halts (sometimes full halts) and reminders to chill.
At any gait faster than a walk, she rushes – it’s not a matter of being left behind, she feels like she would climb straight up the butt of the horse in front of her if I let her. Unlike most horses I’ve ridden, she seems to take no relief or comfort in letting someone else be in front. She becomes a tense, jiggy, sideways, teeth-gnashing mess, and if anyone comes up behind her in this state she will threaten to kick (has never done this in the lead, no matter how close other horses are following). She seems to hate the pressure of having horses simultaneously in front of and behind her, but if I put her last in a line, she rushes and tenses even worse. Everyone else can be doing a leisurely jog and she’ll be sucked-back and cantering at 4mph, flinging her head and grinding her teeth. It happens on our trails at home and when we trailer out.
We’re working on doing some leapfrog when we have willing horse/riders to practice with. In the meantime I’m doing my best to keep her occupied with bending, SI, etc when we’re following to keep her mind otherwise engaged, but it doesn’t slow her down much. (She has a gorgeous travers in the trot going down the trail, LOL). I’ve gotten advice to just let her tire herself out, but that’s not my preferred method - she’s already very athletic and the last thing I need is to have a horse will listen to me, but only after 15 miles of work first. Any other tips for working through this?