Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Alright so I have my 11 (12 on the 27th!) y/o OTTB Ice....he was on the track for a good chunk of time, so he's pretty used to being able to be silly and all of that fun stuff while being lead, as long as he got serious when the time called for it. Most of the time, I don't have a problem leading him. We can do trotting in-hand and he doesn't rush ahead of me, and he does stand perfectly for the vet/farrier, and he also stands well in cross ties. Single tied he's very fidgety, and usually unties his own knots, but that's another story. He also makes it a point to stop exactly shoulder-to-shoulder with me.
Anyway, this thread is about standing still, which he does seem to have a problem with. On our boarding facility property where he's comfortable, he usually stands no problem, or if he starts to fidget, I just have to remind him firmly to "stand" and he goes back to a statue. However, yesterday we were in unfamiliar territory, just down the road from where I board. I had taken him on a walk to stretch out his legs since they were stocked up, and we were on our return portion of the trip. He was looking a little white eyed, so I let him stop and look around and figure out where he was. When that was okay, he bent down to eat some grass (really they were dead leaves, but he eats them anyway) and so I asked him to pick his head up, and we did a few circles around me, like everyone always suggests. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard, right? Well, he started pitching a fit and just completely mentally collapsing, trying to throw his shoulder/ run into me and put his nose in the air. So then we were doing circles and some backing to get his attention back on me, which didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Instead of standing still and collecting himself when I stopped, he started moving in the same circles and backing up even though I didn't cue him just so he could throw his little fit and have a freak out moment. I started working on his right side, which is the side he doesn't like, and that seemed to get him re-focused pretty fast, so we continued on our way back home. I am 99% sure his hissy fit was based on the fact that he was in unfamiliar territory, and did not trust me as much as he does in a familiar situation.....both at his old house and his new place, he was/is always fine.
So my question is, for a horse who would rather work than stand still, how do I get him to stand still? This is only a problem on the ground, in the saddle he has excellent whoa and stands no problem.