Many people had good suggestions for things to do with Dawn, our wild child. I do want to continue to work with her since it builds her confidence and connection with me. But with Dawn, I've got to put safety (primarily mine but also hers) first, and that's not always the easiest thing to do. She's not one of those horses that power down - she's always on her toes and ready to rock and roll - and she's the type that will spin and bolt when alarmed or worked up, not like Pie, whose first impulse is to stop and stare. And I think she'll always be that way, no matter how much work she gets or what exercises we do - that's just who she is.
First a note on her diet (because diet can often be a source of excess energy). Not much I can do there - she only gets a vitamin/mineral balancer pellet - no grain - and grass hay. I am going to increase her magnesium/chromium supplement to 2 ounces a day (she usually gets 1 ounce a day when the grass isn't rich and 2 ounces a day when it is - the primary purpose of this supplement is to help her borderline insulin resistance). Magnesium oxide often has a calming effect on the nervous system. (If she were a horse that needed grain due to heavy work, I would use vitamin B-1 as a supplement.) She also currently gets Mare Magic and U-Gard.
Leading/in-hand. Dawn did a lot of this work in the arena when I was first working with her, to help her with her ground manners and to help her learn to pay attention to me and focus on me. We should do more of this, including some more advanced work and some obstacle work. Leading her on the trail, however, would be another matter. Dawn is one of those horses who can lose it completely, and when she's gone, she's gone. Being on the end of the line with a crazed, spinning, bucking horse that's trying to bolt isn't my idea of fun - even my daughter won't lead her on the trail. I think she wouldn't run me over, but I would have trouble managing her if she got upset, and I'm just not up for that.
Ground driving. I'm a big fan of ground driving, and have used it with great success to introduce horses to the trail and to new situations. Maisie and I did a lot of it when she first started trail riding. It is easier to keep control of a horse that's exploding on the lines than in-hand, but it can still be a pretty scary experience - I had some episodes with Lily when ground driving on the trail that made me ask later "what was I thinking?" A horse doing levades and caprioles (unintended by me) while ground driving is a little too much excitement for me, and I know Dawn is capable of some pretty fancy moves. I'm just not up for that either.
Ponying. This would be a great idea - I've done this too with my horses - Maisie and Norman were both ponied (not at the same time!) off Noble from time to time - except for one problem. Dawn has what could be politely described as "personal space" issues - she's very dominant - an alpha - and can be extremely aggressive with other horses - biting and kicking would definitely be strong possibilities. She actually doesn't even like other horses anywhere near her when my daughter takes her on the trail, and has the ability to kick sideways and reach even a horse directly next to her. If she were showing, she'd be a red-ribbon-in-the-tail girl.
Lungeing. This is something Dawn and I have done together. I think we need to do more of this, perhaps with some obstacles to negotiate and also using two reins and doing some more sophisticated in-hand and long-lining/ground-driving exercises. I could see her enjoying this - just lungeing in circles bores her (me too) and isn't great for her joints.
Getting a saddle. I'm debating with myself about this. My daughter never rides with a saddle - she strongly prefers bareback and in fact feels more secure on the horse bareback - good for her! I've seen her stay on for Dawn moves that resulted in clear airspace between my daughter's butt and Dawn's back, but usually my daughter's pretty well glued on - she just goes with the motion, whatever it is. So any saddle we get for Dawn will be for me only. I do need to get one, but if possible I'd like to get one that fits both Dawn and Pie (if that is even possible), but until Pie finishes filling out I don't know what I've got there. I should probably just bite the bullet and get a saddle made for Dawn (I want a lightweight Black Rhino and the lead time for them is several months, unless I luck into a used one that fits her), since it's probable that what fits her won't fit Pie anyway.
Galloping to get the ya-yas out. In fact my daughter employs this strategy a lot with Dawn - they do full-out gallops (very fast - Dawn's an ex-racehorse) frequently, and Dawn really enjoys this. Just not happening with me - Dawn is also perfectly capable of doing big bucks while running flat out; she's that athletic.
Clicker work. We've done some of this to help Dawn with scary objects, and we both enjoyed it a lot. I need to expand my horizons here. I have a good Alexandra Kurland book to use and there's a lot more we can work on. I'll bet Dawn would even be capable of some interesting liberty work (once I got her to stop tearing around), although I know one trick I'm not teaching her - rearing - she already does this just fine, and frequently, although no longer (thank the powers that be) when ridden.
So there you go - one high-strung, highly reactive and sensitive mare, with a dominant personality, plus one middle-aged lady focussed on self-preservation. The two of us can work together, and I'm a reasonably capable rider, but keeping safe is my first priority. Although I do love Dawn - she's one-of-a-kind, full of personality and expressiveness and my daughter's special "soul horse" - I need to accept that there are limits on what I will do with her. She would have made an outstanding competition horse - say for jumpers or eventing - she's fiery, fiercely competitive and fast and extremely athletic, but that's not where she ended up in her horse life.