Hello! Sammy and I started with a new trainer and had our second lesson today.
(Background: Had my 10-year-old for 10 weeks; before that he was a pasture pet for two years and a family trail horse before that. Since I got him, we haven't done a ton of work because of a lameness bout and my general reluctance to move too fast.
So back to today. We had a really great lesson working on slowing and speeding the walk and trot, bending, yielding, disengaging, etc. Then right as we were about to finish, we were trotting a circle at the far end of the arena from the gate and when it came time to bend back toward our end he cut right (out of the circle). He's done that before around feeding time (today it wasn't), but it usually just requires some leg and one rein to correct. But today he did it again the next time around the circle and flat-out refused to move forward in the direction I asked. I did my best but couldn't "win," so my trainer got on and really had to work him (she wasn't being rough with him, but she was really making him move his feet until he would move forward. His front feet left the ground once — I wouldn't call it a rear, but he was definitely putting up a fight. Then I got back on and he was better, but I still had to try for about 15 minutes before we got to the point where we could end on a good note.
1) We had been working for almost an hour, and I'm wondering if maybe he was sore. My trainer said he didn't look off and wasn't acting like she seemed to think he would if he was in pain, but I'm not sure.
2) Right before he started acting up, his friends entered the ring (two girls on their horses we sometimes trail ride with)
3) The direction he refused to move was away from the gate, and the gate end of the arena was also where his friends were
4) Our lesson work was a lot more than what we usually do. What we did wasn't really physically strenuous, but mentally it was a lot more. I'd say if our previous routine was coloring with crayons while sitting, today was doing a jigsaw puzzle while walking in place.
My trainer thinks he might have been pushing back because he isn't used to working and the things we're working on are more than he's usually asked for. Does that make sense to you guys? Does this sound like overworked grumpiness, or would you be worried about pain?