My boy had and still (sometimes! He's getting better!) has a balking issue. He was a spoiled brat and if he didn't want to go somewhere and started to turn around or go in the direction HE wanted to.. he got it. He was very insecure without his buddies, didn't respect or trust his owner and had the WORST jumpy anixety anywhere he was unfimilar with. Very balky. This went on with him and his old owners for YEARS, since he was 2 months old and now he's 11 and been 100% mine for about 3 months now.
I understand you say he is afraid because of a past experience, but as the lead mare you need to show him by earning his trust and respect that it is okay! He will be safe with you! You would be suprised how much a horse's anxiety will go down if they see you as a leader. They may still be 'nervous' but they won't second guess your decision. So first ask yourself - does he have my respect? Does he come to me in the pasture, can I touch him anywhere, groom him anywhere? Does he listen to me, or walk all over me? Does he like being with me or does he run when I try to catch him in the field? You will never fix a balking problem without trust and respect. And that comes through quality time (treats,loving,etc) and disipline!
What I do is keep a crop with me at all times, and if you don't have a crop extra reins will do. Continue your on your way until he starts to balk. Don't let him turn, don't like him back. PUSH him foward, use your voice and your legs. If you need to smack him on the shoulder with the crop/reins do so. Once he starts to go foward (and only foward in the direction you want to go in) release all pressure and continue on. Their 'praise' is the release of all pressure from my voice/legs/crop. I expect my horse to go everywhere and anywhere I tell them to. This has always worked for me when it comes to balking in saddle. Evenually when you pass by that spot they like to balk, they will get so tired of fighting you they will just go.
Going in another direction or letting him make you turn around, go another way, etc. Is him winning! I know when horses balk some people like to turn them in a circle and continue foward. I do not do that because then they are winning. I do not lose when it comes to my horses. I am the head mare and they know that. Very little do they test me. And when they do - it stops quickly. Horses LEARN to balk. You'll never unteach them that, but you can control them when they try to.
If he balks while you are leading him, do not pull on the lead line. Get at his butt! That is the engine to every horse.My horse was so bad that he would plant his feet and not move for nothing! I started out nice, just sending energy to his backend to push him foward and he still wouldn't budge so you know what? SMACK right on the hind, they are have to learn that you can be nice, and life can be easy, but don't mess with me because I will mess back harder. If my horse stops when I lead him somewhere, all I have to do is turn around and point at his butt and he starts moving. They will learn all it takes is consistency, time, and demand for respect.
Good Luck balking horses can be a pain!
Last edited by justhorsinaround1; 09-26-2012 at 08:55 PM.