I just came across these in the other thread about the horse looking away, and it sounded a lot like my horse, Snickers (an Arabian). He's willing and responsive, but very stand-offish. I don't think it's due to all the "normal" things that I've dealt with in the past and haven't really been able to explain his behavior. For instance....
He sometimes walks away from me if I approach in the pasture (he used to do it a lot more), but will let me catch him if I just keep walking toward him. If I don't walk to him and instead go and give my attention to something else - checking out a fence or petting another horse - he'll come up to me to find out what's going on and won't turn away if I try to approach/catch him. It's like he wants the attention, and so plays hard to get, but if I don't play along, he comes to me anyway.
Chasing him and making him move his feet doesn't work very well - he just runs away more and gets more worked up. (Last year, when we did
have a catching issue, a trainer cornered him for me and then had me work him until he turned in to me, which took hours, and then we had to lasso him the next day instead)
He seems very sensitive to pressure and is very emotional and preoccupied about things. He'll even walk away from his food if there's something he feels he needs to check on for whatever reason.
He is the dominant horse in any situation I've put him in, which is interesting considering how sensitive he is to me.
He's very aware of all his surroundings and is always watching. Oftentimes, he'll completely "forget" I'm there (whether I'm there on the ground or on his back) and look off into the distance at whatever is calling his attention more.
He doesn't like to be alone. If turned out into an arena, he'll pace and whinny and flip his head until someone comes to keep him company. This could be another horse or just me. He used to have security issues with me, but he generally is paying attention to me and not worrying about the other horses as long as I'm actively working with him. He has no problem going out on the trail, and actually does better at endurance when it's just the two of us because he's not concerned about keeping tabs on the other horse. If we're with another horse, he's more concerned about where they are than taking care of himself.
He doesn't like anything behind him. He gets very tense when you're behind him and used to swing his butt around to the other side if you walked behind him so that he could keep an eye on you and his butt away from you. He's never tried to kick and won't act out - he's just very concerned about what's going on around his rear. In fact, if he hears a horse coming up behind him, he'll step off the trail and turn back to watch them pass before continuing, and forget about tying him up or trailering him with another horse behind him - he got himself stuck one time trying to turn around and see who was behind him!
Anyway, rather than being behavioral problems that each need to be fixed or retrained, I now believe these are all effects of his personality. I clicked this link describing horsenalities
, and I'm positive he's got a very dominant right-brain personality, and though I'm not sure about being extraverted or introverted, I'm inclined to believe he's an extrovert (he's definitely got a lot of "go!").
Does anyone else have any insights into this and how I could improve my relationship with him? For whatever reason, I absolutely love this horse and can't imagine why. I would think I'd enjoy a lovey, cuddly, excited horse much more, but he simply intrigues me and is my puzzle. Plus, I think the relationship I have with him may be worth more to me because I have to work at it and develop a real bond since he's not just going to give it to you no questions asked. I really hope I can find a way to bond with him more and learn to give him his individual handling needs.