My boy Boe is an OTTB. He's been off the track since late March, and had some nice down time followed by being wormed w/ a panacure powerpac and is now finally a good weight. I'm starting to work him more under saddle now, and he's QUITE barn sour. He'll do anything he can (non-agressive so no bucking/rearing/etc) to avoid having to ride. He fights for the first few min. Of the ride and then settles down. But his biggest issue is that he's bored. When we're doing something that will mentally stimulate him he LOVES it. But mindless circles/8's/serpentines/etc. just bore him to pieces (and me too, honestly). That's how we've arrived at his current aversion to working.
He LOVES to jump and will be a fun jumper, but to get him to that point he needs to build up muscle tone on the flat...and he hates it so he fights. You can see, vicious cycle. I have direct access from my house to 25,000 acres of trails...but no one to ride with. He not a spooky horse, and the few times I've ridden him up the road a bit he loved it...but would feel more comfortable with another horse. Personally, I don't know the forest at all, so I'm not comfortable riding alone b/c a) I don't know the forest/trails b) if something were to happen...I'd be alone: safety.
My landlords own a big QH barn behind me, and a big group goes out on trails every Sun. Am...when I'm at church. They said they'd spread the word among the boarders that I'm looking for a riding companion...but I'm not expecting much to come of it.
So, to give him something to do mentally as well as build up his muscles some, I introduced a few ground poles. He likes the idea, but he's a clutz. BIG time. He keeps kicking the pole (usually with his back feet) and he HATES it. He can handle 2 poles okay when they're about 8 strides apart, but any closer and he starts bumping the poles and it irritates him.
Do y'all have any advice?