gate sour or sore?
I have 20 year old gelding who is currently being handwalked daily to help rehab a torn inferior check ligament in his rf leg. He also has arthritis in his right hock. When we walk around the arena with his bad legs on the inside he balks, bends to the outside with his neck, tries to stop and generally looks a bit grumpy as we pass the arena gate. When we go the other way around the arena he slows down a bit as we pass the gate but he doesn't stop or misbehave like he does the other way. I am trying to decide how much of his behavior is him being a brat (which is definetely some of it) and how much is because he is in more pain going to the right. Anyone have any experience with something like this?
Horses are 'creatures of habit'. I do not think that a circle as big as an arena puts more pressure on him going one way or the other at a walk. A tight circle would be a different matter. He has just 'talked' someone into going out that gate from that direction and thinks it should work again. He has gotten a 'pay-off' going that direction and he is just looking for another one (like leaving the arena and being put up).
Just like I make students go to the far corner of the arena, stop, stand still a while, dismount and lead their horses to the gate, you should do the same when you walk him. Get after him for stopping at the gate (if you can safely do it without him fighting and re-injuring himself) and then never let him turn and go out the gate when he is near it. If you get this horse sound enough to ride in there, he will do the same thing with a rider.
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