Please bear with me, I would love to hear from you. =]
Ricci has an unusual [at least to me] idea of being barn sour. I'll take you step by step on the ride today. I was going to go down the road to get coffee with my friend [I've ridden double on her a hundred times, it's not the problem.] We start out okay, but she will hesitate and then spin around to the right to go back to the barn. I'll spin her around to the left and we'll keep going until she does it again. When we get far enough away, she'll stop. This is a relatively new development. She used to just go, we've only had a few fights. Once when we went to get past the big metal plate on the ground, and a few more times trying to get up the hill the first few times. But ever since I got Gracie, and Gracie sits in the pasture and screams and screams, Ricci just doesn't seem to want to leave. When I take Gracie away, Ricci handles it just fine. When Ricci used to live with a mini, he would scream for her and she didn't care at all.
Today, we got to the back road and she was just freaking out about going forward. We had been going for awhile without a hitch, but all of a sudden she gave a little buck and spun around [always to the right.] My friend bailed and I fought with her a bit; spun to the left and got her forward, spun to the left and got her forward. When that wasn't enough, we started backing up everytime she spun towards home. In the past, it's always worked; it's easier to go where I want walking forward than it is walking backward. She threatened to rear a few times [!!] and gave a few bucks and quicker spins. I started circling her a few times and just became a witch about it. I was getting mad! Where was my amazing trail horse? Willing to go anywhere without a flick of her ear? This has been getting ridiculous!
Eventually, I got her to go forward well without her dodging and trying to spin, so I got off and continued walking in the direction I wanted to go as a kind of break. I was GOING to that coffee stand, PERIOD. After we got most of the way down the road, I got back on and she stood great for mounting, and walked along great. We got to the turn and my friend got back on. Ricci stood and walked on like the perfect pony I'm used to. We made it all the way to the espresso stand with only three small hitches; she tried to turn around once, she had a small spook at a can in the grass, and another small spook when we accidently knocked over a mailbox.
On the way back, she was also a perfect gentle-horse. She wasn't prancing but for a few seconds. My friend wanted to get off because she was uncomfortable being on Ricci with the cars coming up from behind us. No biggie, except we tried to stop in a drive way, I held my friend's drink [while also holding my drink and Ricci] and when she went to dismount, Ricci started prancing around and I shoved the drink back at my friend [who dropped it to hang on] and made Ricci stand still. So we spent a few minutes the way back stopping and waiting, stopping and waiting. It only took a few tries for her to be stopping with a verbal "woah" and waiting patiently. The rest of the ride home was perfect, not rushing, not prancing, walking quickly, but 100% in control.
I'm just so confused. I just don't think this is at all like her. There are only two spots that this is a problem; when we get past the house, and when we leave the trail for the back road. On the trails, and on the main road, it's not. Well, the last time we tried to go for a ride, she pitched a HUGE HUGE HUGE fit, but I think that was because she was still hurt in her feet. I also think maybe she resents the trail rides now, because the time before that is when I think she really hurt her feet [galloping down the road with almost too-long toes and very possibly already strained soft tissue in her feet.] Do you think this may be the reason she's reluctant to leave? Do you think if I keep pushing through, she'll realize she isn't going to get hurt again?
I understand the typical approach to fixing a barn sour problem; work where they want to be, rest where you want to be. And I'm more than willing to do that, and I will work on it, but I'm not sure this is a true barn sour issue? I've never known a barn sour horse to be so calm and easy-going coming home? ::sigh:: Sorry this was so long, any ideas, thoughts, or input would be appreciated. =]