I don't think it matters what speed it obeys initially. What you want is to give the horse an order and make it obey.
I don't think you have that much of a respect issue. I'm inclined to think you have a bit, and I mean, bit, of a compliance issue.
To me disrespect is when they step on your toes, bang into you or in general just look right through or over you. Compliance is when they do something you ask them to do. Non-compliance is when they do it in a manner different than you want them to.
I always deal with compliance issues in the same way - I make them comply by demonstrating to them that I am the leader and I am to be obeyed if it is physically possible.
The horse can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. If it does something "wrong" I look it as the horse is communicating something to me.
What is it communicating?
Could be pretty much anything. It is my job to figure out what it is saying and to reply to that. If she's saying, "You aren't the boss of me!!" I tell her, "Yep, I is!" by controlling her. If she is confused, I chunk it down even more.
It is very easy to control a horse in a round pen.
If it is running around like a nut, you stop that by quickly heading to the spot the horse occupied when you decided you wanted to stop it and you claim a wedge of the pen for your own. You then tell the horse by your attitude and demeanor, "This is my space! Come into it and hair will fly and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it isn't mine!"
If you are convincing enough, it will stop and go back. If it comes around from the other direction, same story. (You might want to leave enough room for the horse to get by just in case you aren't convincing enough.) When the horse slows, you go back into the center. If it acts up again, repeat the same thing.
If the horse isn't moving fast enough you can up the pressure until it does.
Now then, we come to cantering in the RP...
In my opinion this is something that should be avoided. This puts a lot of stress on the horse's legs as well as quickly making a banked rut that will encourage the horse to drop its shoulder for balance rather than use its weight.
Once the horse is compliant in the RP I would then begin longeing the horse. In longeing you can work in larger areas and longe in long ovals and gradual turns and lessening the stress on the horse.
You want to be careful that you do not rely on the RP as an exercise yard. And for that matter, getting a horse to circle on the end of a line is not the purpose of longeing either, there is a whole lot more to it than that.
Longeing is a training / communication / assessment tool that is very involved. You train the horse to do from the ground what you want it to do from the saddle, you get it listening to you and you listening to it, you assess it's physical condition, mood and movement and you can even use it assess the rider's skills and balance.
I have a couple of DVDs that might be helpful for longeing...
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