My problem is that when we work in the arena on the flat, she will suddenly stop and refuse to move about 15 to 20 minutes in. At first, she is willing and receptive...but at some point when we go back to a halt or walk, she will suddenly stop and refuse to go forward. She will even back up a bit sometimes but usually she just stops in her tracks. I try kicking her while turning her head tightly to one side or the other. The only thing that will get her moving again is by using a dressage whip and snapping her with it behind my leg. I also seem to need the whip to get her to canter and it takes a lot of work to KEEP her cantering. I have not found any "trigger" that seems to start this. It doesn't matter if other horses are around or not. She just seems like she's decided she's done!
I'm really frustrated by this because I hate holding a whip while I ride. I also don't like using spurs and really don't want to do this. The whip is so distracting to me and I hate that feeling of having to handle it all the time. Plus..I want her to WANT to work with me.
Is there any way to train her to move forward willingly without the whip? I am a very experienced rider but all my past horses have been very willing compared to her. I rode her several times before purchasing her and she didn't do this at that time. I did find out from the owner recently that she pulled this same behavior with the teen daughter and the daughter got very frustrated with her. I'm now wondering if this was the reason they sold her....but I'm not sure. But I suspect it might be the reason.
I do want to add that when we are out of the arena, she (so far) hasn't done this. She loves to be out on the trail and I don't need a whip then. Perhaps she just hates arena work?
Any advice would be appreciated. I'm really bummed! I'd love to know why a horse would do this and how to fix it, if possible.