I have a 3 yo OTTB gelding...He is right now on stall/stall size paddock rest for a bowed tendon. I know he is young and doesn't understand he can't go out and play and its now been about 5 weeks since I have gotten him and only 1 week in a new barn.
Yesterday while working on proper leading in the ring he started to buck and jump in place. No snorting out of fear or anything like that. When I turned to look at him he immediately started to back up thinking that was what I wanted----almost like he was self-correcting based on how many times I have had to yank on the chain and back him up to learn about "personal space". I chose not to give him a hard time---just a stern "NO" and he stopped almost immediately. He does not even pull the full length of the regular lead shank. We move on, he goes right back to walking beautifully and calmly.
We went out of the immediate area to the side yard and he is snorting like a dragon--like a fear reaction. Again this same type of crowhopping/bucking in place reaction. After 2 more times of saying "NO" he would stop and listen and back and move his feet for me. Then he started again and this time wouldnt stop with his happy feet although never truly crowding me and not lunging forward or back.
Today---same scenario. In the ring I decided to move his feet, make him back, move sideways (still learning that one!), and use the lead to let him know that this is not acceptable behaviour. When out in the side yard he was much worse than yesterday.
I am not sure how much of this is spunk....how much is actual fear of the "new" area.....and whether to soothe him or correct/punish him? He is trying to be brave--he stays right next to me and makes no attempt to run away. I can see in his eyes that he is looking to me for direction but he is so uneducated at this point that he is difficult to soothe or comfort other than me staying calm. And neither soothing nor correcting seems to be making a difference in his reactions.
I know its only been 2 days but I need to fix this before it gets any worse!
ANY advice would be appreciated!