Well, I just got back in from lunging my pony. It rained here this morning, and the pressure is dropping so the horses are a tad loopy, so I decided to do some lunging and groundwork instead of ride.
I decided to start Scout's jumping career. I warmed him up at walk trot and canter on the lungeline and did some CA lunging for respect stage one and two, some hindquarter disengagements and yielding his shoulders, and flexing to the rope halter. Scout was quiet and calm, a little heavy on the line but not at all bad for him. I pulled a single pole out and lay it in the arena and began leading him over it at a walk and trot. He never flinched or balked once, the good boy. He seemed comfortable going over the pole, so I sent him over by himself, both directions, at the walk and trot. He seemed really calm, his head even a little lower than I like and his inside ear on me, outside ear loose. Suddenly, half of the circle away from the pole (the farthest point of the exercise away from the gate), the ears flew forward, the tail shot up, and he did a barrel horse takeoff, gunning for the gate. He half dragged me to the gate, so I immediately started working the crud out of him (CA lunging for respect 1 and 2, with much "listen the heck to me" direction ). My theory is - If you needed to be here so darn bad, you can sure as heck work as hard as I say while we're here. I got him working forward but quietly at the gate and trotted him to the other end of the arena to rest when he started licking and chewing, etc. We went back to the polework.
The gate magnet thing has been an ongoing issue, but he has been doing really well, especially under saddle. For a couple of weeks, the worst he has done is try to push his shoulder toward the gate on that side of a circle or turn away from the gate, easily corrected with no "lip" from him.
Sorry, that kinda turned into a rant, but I would really welcome input on handling this kind of thing if it happens again, and critique of how I handled it this time. Right now I'm definitely not taking it personally, I'm basically blaming the tanking barometer for setting him off, then him for not listening to me, lol.