Walks great. Refuses to trot. Bucks at the canter.
In the arena I mean. Down the trail wellllllll! All of a sudden he can move again! Miracle? I think NOT. In the arena we walk, flex, do circles, figure eights, walk threw poles, over poles and around other fun things before asking to trot. He will be happy enough but when its time to ask for trot he will A) plant all feet and refuse to move even with excessive kicking, spurs, crop, dressage whip or lounge whip. B) plant all feet and get into the when you kick I buck game which can go on for a while. C) slows down, throws head up, rear/hops into a choppy trot and becomes highly in-flexible.
If we canter in the arena, we end up taking corners nearly sideways because God forbid his neck bend around a turn, we also buck often. Its a new gait the canter/buck combo.
Heavy in the bridle its like I manually have to turn his head (some times, others he's as loose as a noodle and responds to light touch)
He moves off from leg well down the trail. Apply left leg pressure, tap right rein and he'll bend nicely or sidepass down the trail as asked. In the arena we cannot walk a strait line, we cannot bend and he seems to push his mouth onto his bit and be very "heavy" (open mouthed, looks like a dork, no the reins are not to tight... he'll go find them! He started this because he used to grab a rein and pull it or turn himself until I found a bit that removed his ability to do such and thus ruined his fun game, now he has decided this is equally as entertaining)
Trys to bite when you flex from a stand still under saddle.
Ask to flex (I use a light pull or light "taps") he flexs, bites (playfully but annoying and not the point) Kick nose. Horse face returns strait. As to flex. Horse grabs rein and turns himself around. Correct this behavior. Ask to flex yet again, horse makes his head as heavy as physically possible but will leave it "flexed" if you get it there yourself or if you'd rather not tug his head around manually and thus defeating the point of flexing in the first place... he'll stand with his head strait, mouth open, pulling downwards on the bit/reins (again, essentially making his head very heavy) so he can strengthen his nice big upside down bottom neck muscle ::
Backing up? On the ground just touch his chest and say back up. With a halter/bareback just rock a bit and ask up to back up. Under saddle with a bit he just opens his mouth, lifts his head and becomes very "heavy" again.
He does not like to give to pressure, he always wants to fight it. (You should see is neck muscle! I have proof.) I have always used alternative methods on the ground IE he walks on very loose lead and stops when you stop/turns when you turn because I can swing a rope and use body language. I know he needs to learn to give to pressure and particularly a bit. Especially when he "doesn't want to" as I assume trail riding is "fun and easy" thus he's good (leads/follows, goes threw anything, isn't spooky - he does occasionally buck at the canter and we'll get to his ONE trail problem at the end of this novel) but he is a b*stard in the arena.
We have had all four legs and hooves x-rayed and looked into for pain as it was a question. He has had chiropractic work. He wears a nicely fitted saddle and pad. His teeth are checked/done yearly.
I have used a halter (he prefers, but is difficult to stop down the trail if we gallop with other horses and he uses a halter) a hack, a slow twisted D snaffle, a gag bit, a 3 piece "correctional training" bit and he is currently using a full cheek snaffle with no chin strap (simply chose this because he cannot grab his reins and play with them).
Looking for any and all suggestions. I have ranged from being very firm and aggressive stopping just short of beating the horse to being as quite and calm as can be, re-directing his attention every time he says no and ignoring certain things. I have taken lessons with two trainers that said he is years of a project and likely just going to remain "a ****" for the rest of his life. I sent him to one outside trainer who he wouldn't ever move for and he came back very head shy (which seems like a accomplishment because he could be hit in the head with a 2x4 and just blink)
How do I loosen him up? How do I get him to stop playing games with his bit? How should I respond when he makes his head "heavy" in his bridle and sets up to fight? What exercises would be good for reducing his bottom neck muscle and re building his top? What would be good for his over all balance? If he refuses to trot, what would you do?
By the time I get him into a trot and attempt to flex him and ask him to bend around corners or relax his head high chicken look at all he hits the breaks. Its a classic "You wanted a trot, you got it, your not telling me how to do it, were done now"
OH SO FRUSTRATED. Sigh.