I don't ignore strange behavior, I disect it and find out if it's disrespect in disguise or simply ur pony being weird. However since he IS breaking focus with you when he halts, then that is a form of disrespect. When u handle a horse u are the center of their universe and should never break focus with you. Should they break focus, leaves an open door to trouble. Depending on the horse of course, some break focus and just stare off into space, while others take that moment to spook or get aggressive with you. So it's safer to always make sure their ear and eye is cognizant of you when leading from the shoulder. You can check in by watching out of the corner of your eye if their head is down or their posture is rigid, or like with you, their head is turned away to something else.
For your situation when u ask for halt and he pulls this stunt, snap the lead once and get him to react by looking at you. I do this with my stud. If he ever breaks focus my first reaction is to "ask nicely" by snapping the lead shank (or chain in my case) and his reaction would be to refocus. If ur horse does not respond to this than give him a wack with the lead line and back him up, then ask again. That way your saying "I asked u nicely, u ignored, now I'm reprimanding and asking again."
Rense, and repeat the exercise until he stays focused. Then give him a good rub and some kind words to let him know he did good. :)
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