I do think training like you are doing halter obstacle is a great way to get a horse to respect your space plus trust you to take him/her anywhere. I think when training you have to mix things up and I know putting up a fake obstacle coarse makes the horse really think about what they are doing and they have to put complete faith in the handler.
Do NOT let him push you or walk on top of you as that will start to show up in the riding. I have however found a lot of horses are unknowingly trained to do this by their handler holding them with what I call the death grip under the chin. Always have a nice loose lead when leading a horse. Only tighten when pressure is needed to correct a bad behavior. Those death grips on horses will train them to constantly pull and walk on you.
I agree with weefoal . Many owners think they can teach their horses english - when what should be happening is the owner should learn to ' speak horse '
The best horse trainers in the world will do you no good if YOU don't know how to handle your horse yourself. Some basic ground rules should be made very clear between you and your horse and the first rule is you are boss. He must learn to move out of your way not the other way round .
Yeah, I use a long lead on him every where I go. I don't do the DEATH GRIP because that just encourages to get even more in my space. Bu I hold the rope about half way, and leave the end on the left side of me dangling, and he envades my space, I swing it around my back, it acts like a horses tail. Good idea?
I used to have the same problem with my gelding. I dedicated like a whole day just on ground manners. Every time he got in my space I would turn him away from me and tell him to "GET OFF!" after a while he seemed to get the message and stays at least an arm length away from me. He does occasionally need to be reminded. An important thing is to ALWAYS BE CONSISTENT on the ground.
I agree consistency is key...most of my friend think i'm too hard on my horse, however most of my friends also envy my horses ground manners...i'm not hard on him I just don't let anything slip; if he steps on my heals or knocks me with his head I let him know he was WAY too close by immediately getting him way out of my space...if you continue to keep your personal bubble and you ALWAYS kick him out of it when he wasn't invitied I guarantee he will realize it's much easier to just stay out :)
I agree with all above posts that he needs to know his place and that you are top horse and invadeing your space is not ok. If the lead rope trick gets him to give you more space I would use that, I can't really see a problem with it. One thing I have seen some trainers do is when your horse gets into your space you use your hand and do a flicking motion with your fingers (kinda like flicking water off your fingers) towards his eye (not too close, you don't want to poke him in the eye and you don't want him to be head shy), this should get his attention and get him to back off and respect your space. Good luck
I have a pushy gelding of my own but you just have to be consistant in what you are asking. Its ask, then tell. Simple. Horses are way too big to be that close and generally 5ft behind me is good and when I stop he stops, or you need to correct him as many times as it takes, and not let him slip. He will get it, some horses like to be in charge by nature and you need to convince him that its going to be much easier and less uncomfortable if he just stays outside your 5ft bubble. Good luck!
Try, in addition to the halter obstacle course, teaching your horse to yield his hindquarters and shoulders away from you. Clinton Anderson has a really thorough, step by step instructional system to teach these maneuvers. Just remember, keep your hand by the horse's head when you disengage his hindquarters, or he'll just follow you in a circle, continuing to invade your space. If you don't have a stick and string to reinforce your cues, don't buy Clinton's (way too expensive). I've seen the same tool at Rod's.com for under $20. If you need the rope halter, TSC has them with a short lead pretty reasonably priced, and lead rope components and bulk rope to build your own in custom lengths and materials are handy. My newest horse is a real sweetie, but that loviness means some space invasion on the ground. A few weeks of these and other CA groundwork exercises, and I rarely have a problem anymore.