Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Just plain stubborness
Okay, so Ice is officially back in riding condition, his legs are healing up, I have his hackamore, we've moved on to working in the arena for good. Great.
Now about his hang up on the gate.....It's getting a little ridiculous. He mounts up fine, stands perfectly by the block and waits for me to get both feet in the stirrups before walking off. He halts, turns left/right, and backs up on cue, knows all of the voice cues, and in general is very well behaved. HOWEVER, usually we start by walking along the right rail of the arena, turn in towards the middle and cross through the barrel pattern we have set up, and then Ice decides he's had enough of the arena and decides to head towards the gate. If I would let him, he'd probably canter there, but I make him walk until we get to the tip of the barrel pattern, and then stop and start backing him up. At this point he starts tossing his head, circing backwards, sidestepping....anything he can think of to get me to release the pressure and let him go forward.
Yesterday, we fought for almost an hour. It never escalated beyond what I described, although he would, at intervals, swing his butt around in a really fast turn in an effort to knock me off balance. I know this because after each time he would dead stop, crane all the way around to eye me, and one time he even nudged my boot! I finally dismounted after making him back all the way up to the top of the barrel pattern, and then we walked around the arena in the way that I wanted to do (weaved around the poles, crossed over some ground poles, and circled around a barrel) before we finally turned in.
So my question to you guys is how can I "fix" him? He's absolutely WONDERFUL heading out, I just wish he would be wonderful and want to work for more than five minutes! He behaves this way whether there are other horses in the arena or we are alone, and I've had plenty more experienced people ride him and they have the same fight. Is there anything else I can do, other than what I'm doing?