Thank you so much for your response Joe-Joe!
I figured her being lonely was part of the problem, especially since she didn’t seem to come with these issues, they have just recently started. Luckily she will have a friend joining her very soon.
The “catching” thing is weird. Normally she does come right up to me, she gets excited to be loved on and will follow me around willingly. I never try to chase her, my scrawny little legs could never keep up! It’s this recent pacing thing that I’m trying to figure out, like something in her snaps and she is a completely different horse. She is trained to come to me when I hold out my hand, palm up, and 99% of the time it works, but when she is in one of her little moods she just trots around and ignores my commands. I will have to try letting her do her thing while I sit and patiently wait, thankfully I just got into a good book I can’t wait to finish!
I do have a run in as well as a stall for her with cross ties, and honestly since the first freak out I haven’t tried unbridling her in the barn. I’m curious as to why you say unbridling her in the building may be safer; my logic was that a freakout in a confined space could be potentially more risky than out in the open where I can get out of the way alot quicker, no? I do trail riding and want to get her ready for some overnight camping adventures, so I like tacking her up in different places to prepare her for situations where we may not have a barn available, so I’m thankful we are getting the kinks out now and not out in the open! Also, I do not work or ride her in her “play” area. We have a separate area for work as well as a round pen and fields for riding.
As for the ears, she is sensitive to them during grooming but not as bad, it’ll just be like a twitch or something. I don’t believe they are causing her any pain because she doesn’t have a problem with me putting the bridle on, and she will let me adjust it around her ears without a problem. She only freaks when I take it off.
We definitely do still need more time to bond. I like to make sure every one of my visits doesn’t result in work, sometimes I’ll come out just to scratch her itchy spots! I think a lot of this could just be her testing me, in a herd she likes to be alpha mare and it will take more time for me to establish dominance and show her who is boss! She started out with a bad bucking habit that her previous owner said she had been doing for years, and we got that under control within a few weeks. I guess I was just expecting every issue to resolve as quickly as that did. Thanks a bunch for your advice!!