Sunrise has had me alternating between fits of laughter and eye rolling exasperation lately, she's so keen to do her stuff. Doesn't even matter if I have no food treats ( I usually don't), she's throwing different behaviours at me gleefully and with abandon! But I'm finding it hard to get her to focus and pay attention to what I'm really asking.
I agree with you that abandoning training for a longer period probably won't work, or even have the opposite effect. I know that with Sjors it would have...
If a horse is going all over the place, showing every new behavior he knows, it's probably wise to check what you're unconsciously rewarding: even without foodrewards you can still send out strong signals that you love all the improvising, or even unconsciously stimulate it. You can very easily cure that, simply by upgrading all the other kinds of calm, focused behavior with treats: halt, regular walk, being calm, standing still, lowering the head, the ramener: if your horse does such a thing for only a millisecond, just reward big time! Show her that all the wild stuff is great, but that the calm stuff at this point is even greater - untill you both have found your balance again and can alternate between the two things.
By the way, with Blacky I noticed the same about a week ago. It could be the spring, but maybe also the bad winter wheather? Our paddock has been wet and slippery 90% of the winter, so whenever it was only a bit dry, we would start to do wilder things because finally we could. With the result that when the paddock finally was totally dry two weeks ago and I wanted to train again, Blacky only wanted to canter-canter-pirouettes-terre a terre-collected canter-whatever, if only it was a collected canter.
Trot, walk and other things were completely deleted. So after a few minutes when I wanted to see those other things too, I just started rewarding everything that wasn't canter. So when I said 'trot', Blacky started a collected canter
and I rewarded immediately when he dropped down to a trot again. The same I did for turning the walk into a walk again (not canter
), the halt in halt again (not piaffe
). That took about five minutes, in which I really had to force myself not to reward all those beautiful canterjumps that he showed, and then we were back in balance again. So the hard work is mostly on the shoulders of the trainer, not so much on the horse.
The funny thing is that his canter actually got better when I installed the other movements back in again, probably because Blacky was more assured in what he should be doing, and could really focus on doing it well.