First of all, I am going to say that if you are a new horse owner, this horse sounds a bit much for a beginner, though I do not know your actual experiences with horses as a whole or this horse, so I cannot really say.
As to his behavioral problem, I agree, he is probably a very nervous horse. It also sounds like you are frightening him when you are pulling on the line, and he reacts worse. When you pull on a headstall, pressure is applied to the poll- his reaction was probably to lift his head and back up, which is his attempt to escape the pressure, which is why we use the cues and tools we do when riding. Also, was he stalled at his old home, or pastured? What experiences has he had in both of these places? These questions could help you answer why he would be refusing to lead there.
As to trying to get him in the barn, number one, you must make the barn a pleasant experience- feed him there! Food has a major pull in a horsey mind. When he reacts as he does by backing up, there are three tacticts you can use:
1. Do as mentioned above, continue to make him back and make backing a chore. This could have the desired affect of making the backing stop, but not necessarily make him follow you into the barn.
2. When he starts to back, allow him to back a few paces and stand with him until he calms down, then attempt to continue walking a few places. Repeat. This will allow him time to think about what he is doing, but could take hours to complete a very small task. However, this can be a trust building exercise for the two of you, as he learns that you will not force him to do something scary, and that he can trust you to lead him places that he THINKS are scary and actually aren't.
3. Put him at the end of a long line, like a lunge line, and let him explore the area a bit. When he stops and stands by the front of the barn himself, let him stand there until he moves, then make him lunge a little, then ask him to whoa, and stand there on command. If he attempts to move, make him lunge a little- move his feet, and ask him again to stand there. When he becomes comfortable with standing there, you can attempt to walk him in. If he doesn't walk in with you, move his feet a little, and try again. This tactic allows the horse to scope out area and become comfortable with it himself first. It then associates stopping at the front of the barn with rest, and moving away from it as work. This exercise can, too, be very time consuming, but can also be very effective and quick, depending on how quickly your horse learns.
All horses learn differently, just as people do. Try these three different approaches, and see which one seems to work best for you and your horse, and then stick to it- training doesn't happen in a day, and consistancy is the key to making a horse comfortable with you, himself, and the overall process of learning.
Last edited by SAsamone; 05-23-2011 at 09:38 AM.