Loosie It's not fear. Really. I can see him clearly when I'm in my house. The tree is actually part of the fence line at the end of the arena so he is not tied in a strange place. He stands in the arena, the same old, same old he was once good with it. You are right about his pawing getting a reaction from me when he was confined to his stall. The first time it happened we were replacing a section of fence in the arena and my first thought was "oh no, he is going to get a leg through and hurt himself". I ran over to him waving my arms and yelling "no" and he stopped, but would soon start again. I armed myself with a buggy whip which helped us get through a 4 hour job. He is totally calm about it, even the pawing is random and almost like he is placing his hoof to the bar. I have to stall him to get feed deliveries too because the truck drives through the arena to access the feed room. (poor design). This is what he does and there I am with my whip and armed with "no!" and he keeps testing me.
He will not pee in his stall or when tied up. Maybe he needs to get over that. I like that he doesn't pee in the inside of his stall as it is always dry and fresh, but when he is tied up especially, I think he should just get over it.
I'm going to do what Cherie suggests and leave him tied at the tree. It makes sense to me and I think it will make the most sense to my horse. Yesterday I left him in his stall for about an hour while I did chores. He banged and left his hoof hanging over the bottom pipe of the gate. I yelled "no" like I mean it and he casually pulled his hoof back. He didn't do it again but of course I need to increase the time he spends in there with the gate shut. With the rains, it would be nice to lock him in while it's coming down but for now; I can't.
I will let you all know how he is doing.
Thanks for the advice!