Hey y'all. I just purchased a 5 year old appy gelding who was trained extremely well in Reining. I have little to no real experience riding reining horses, I purchased him because I needed a level headed smooth riding horse because I just had extensive back surgery and he totally fits that bill. No spook, buck, rear, bolt on this guy.
The problem I've been running into is sometimes, especially in an arena, he gets back into his reiner mindset, especially if I have just asked him to do some spins or anything that would resemble a reining pattern, is that he will start backing up very fast, and even if I totally drop my reins and take my legs off he will still back himself into a wall. Once he hits the wall he's willing to move forward again. While he's backing I've also tried to ask him to turn to get his mind on a different task, but he's set on backing.
I've tried smacking his butt with the reins (any other horse I've been on if you hit their hind quarters it's a reaction for them to move forward not back), and that doesn't help either.
I've tried different bits on him, and that doesn't seem to be the issue either. He was ridden in a correction bit when I bought him, he rides fine in that but does the same thing. Also tried a regular "sloppy snaffle", a Tom Thumb, and even just riding him around in a halter and all are the same results. I don't know if I'm accidentally giving him some sort of leg or seat cue to do this?
Do any of you have any helpful ideas on how to curb this habit? I originally rode Dressage for many years, and then moved to Western Pleasure for 3 years when I purchased the horse I had before this one, and then took a hiatus for about 3 years to have my son and deal with my back injury.
Any ideas would be helpful! Thanks a lot and have a great day!