Originally Posted by thesilverspear
Our trainer wasn't a "name." She was a fellow boarder at a barn in Colorado who was working on her TTEAM certification, which meant she had to work with and log the progress of X number of horses, all on a voluntary basis (which worked out well for me :)). She was, however, very good.
The horse was arena sour rather than barn sour, undoubtedly made worse by the fact that at the time I was 15 and a bit clueless. The sort of stuff we did consisted of asking the horse to go over and through poles constructed in various configurations, which she liked doing. In that case, it was a matter of working with the horse in the arena, but doing things there she enjoyed and thought were fun. With that particular horses and her issues, which were mainly very sticky feet -- she could be ridiculously cranky and behind the leg at best and flat-out balky at worst -- the wand (see long, white dressage-type whip) employed by TTEAM was extremely useful, as it taught her shiny new cues for moving her feet and thus made her more interested in and curious about what we were asking her to do.
I also recommend giving your horse the opportunity to play with a giant exercise ball if you can find one. My current horse and the three-year old I started thought it was great fun and would push it and follow it around the arena (Gypsum thought it was even more fun to push it hard at another horse and watch the other horse spook, but the rider had a view on that). Doesn't work for everyone, though. The horse I wrote about in the first paragraph couldn't have cared less about the exercise ball. You could make her push it with her nose, but quite frankly she wasn't that interested.
Basically, anything to vary what you do in the arena, so the arena isn't always associated with the same old work and drudgery. Find things your horse seems to like doing.
Yes the Kerplunk exercise (not called that but reminds me of the game!) is great for building confidence and awareness of where their feet are.
The maze is also good for flexion it gives the horse a reason to flex rather than simply being forced to.
Slightly off topic but I also use wraps a lot to improve awareness and collection etc. (though head wraps look crazy lol)