I have a 3 1/2 year old spotted saddle, my wife and I both ride together as well as with others. My horse has always wanted to lead so I have let him, but I am now trying to teach him to fall to the back and also seperate him from the pack. This past weekend this turned into a bucking bronco experience. My horse gets so nervous and spastic when I try to hold him back, he will rear up and buck. I spin him in circles and hold him in a lateral flex until he calms down enough to try and continue. I have just started doing this this past weekend, but honestly most riders would have come off of him at several points. Is this just going to take time or is there something else I should try. This is my first horse I have had him approx. 1 year. Any suggestions before I get hurt??????
Here's a thought: Instead of holding him back to let the other horses pass, when he is in the lead, you turn him around and ride him to the back of the line and then pull in at the back of the line. Let him ride there for a bit, then ask the "leader" to take his place at the rear. in a line of two, this works really well because no horse must be follower for long. Also works for horses that fear leading.
And, if you "peel off" instead of holding the horse while he is passed, it may lessen his anxiety beacuse he never has to be still, and he is not being passed (since many horses feel competitively about this). He gets to keep going and going and going, just in different directions.
and with regard to holding a hrose in lateral flexion. I dont' think I have ever seen that actually result in a horse relaxing. To me, when I see them do this, the most that happens is that they mentally and physically "freeze" but are just waiting for you to unstop the "dam" so that they can continue iwht the thought they have been holding all along. They can even get more forward from this, because they can "lean" on the rein as you hold them in flexion, and when the pressure is released , they just fall into the vacuum.
If you do this peeling off method, you will do a full disengagement of the hind quarters in order to do your 180, and then let the horse move forward (now toward the rear of the line) and you dont' get that pent up energy. AND, there is something about that full disengagement, with the stepping under fo the inside hind that is more likely to create a release of tension than being held by the rein in a fixed lateral flexion.
AND , you can do a full disengagement of the hind to "peel in" to the end of the line. More bending, more disengagement, very little "holding". If the horse is really uptight, make his stays at the end of the line be very short. This means that you and the others are peeling off very frequently, but this is training, and you can lengthen each stay in rear position as it becomes more tolerable for your hrose.