I have an 11 year old Icelandic gelding with a wonderfully clam disposition and lovely gaits. This horse came to me with very little formal training. His previous owner mostly took him on short trail rides or down the road alone.
When I began riding him 3 months ago on the trails and in the fields nothing spooks him and he is not heard bound. However once I began asking him to trot or canter he became a little bucky and would squeal and jump. Through regular rides these behaviors have mostly gone away - he may occasionally buck going into the canter if I have not ridden him for a day or two.
Now I have been taking him out with a group of other Icelandic horses & riders (2-6 horses). He is pretty good at the beginning of the ride when we are just walking and slowly trotting or tolting. However as the ride goes on and the other riders want to trot ahead or begin to canter my horse gets completely anxious and starts tossing his head and wanting to buck or jump up on all fours. As we go into a canter sometimes he will buck terribly and try to rocket ahead. Sometimes I can ride him through the bucks and he will canter quite nicely to the end of the section. However once we get to another area of the ride he will go through the same routine again (bucking, jumping up on all fours, tossing head).
It also seems like the larger the group the worse he seems to be and he seems to get worse about halfway through the ride when he senses we are starting towards home. Sometimes he will even buck at the walk on the way home if I wonít let him move as fast as he wants.
I have tried riding him through it, keeping his head up - however he is so athletic and has a strong neck he still is able to sneak some bucks in. I really think he has a anxiety issue that is combined with the excitement of the other horses around him.
My goal is to be able to ride this horse with all the other Icelandic horses - however I feel like I have reached a point were it is not safe to take him out in the group. I can continue to trail ride him alone, however I feel like this isn't fixing the problem because he is so relaxed on his own.
This horse has not been a part of the Icelandic herd and some people have said he does not know how to behave with the other Icelandics since he has been separated for so many years.
Unfortunately we donít have an arena or riding ring to work in. I may be able to move him to live with two of the Icelandic horses with the idea that this would help him.
I'd really appreciate some suggestions on how to work through this problem.