Mare Won't Budge--R+ Suggestions?
I've come across a new issue for my horse and myself, and I'm wondering how to train this behavior out of her, preferably using positive reinforcement!
My mare likes to test from time to time. Her newest game is stopping dead and refusing to go forward. I have ruled out pain for a couple of reasons: 1. she does this most often when there is another horse/person in the arena, especially if they are just standing around.. 2. as soon as we work out of her stopping, she will trot off happily and moves comfortably under saddle. I've checked her saddle fit,. I've even experimented without the saddle, seeing if she does it bareback (she does) so I don't feel like it's a tack issue at all. 3. She also does it more often to the left (her more difficult side).
The typical scenario looks like this. We will be walking around the arena at a comfortable, marching pace. As soon as I apply leg pressure to ask for the trot, she will just stop and refuse to go forward. It isn't all the time, it is mainly when there is another horse in the arena that she wants to socialize with. She is happy to walk forward, but as soon as I ask for the trot it's game over. I pull her sideways so she has to take a couple steps to balance, then praise for the steps, but she will often just stop again. Sometimes she stops right off the bat, other times we will be working at the trot happily for 15, 30 minutes before this nonsense begins. Eventually, she sort of just snaps out of this stubbornness, and goes back to trotting like nothing happened.
I've tried getting angry and asserting myself, cropping, etc. etc. This isn't how my mare works. If I push, she pushes back, and it's putting a really negative tone on what would otherwise be a great ride. That is why I'm trying to move away from traditional training methods and go with something more along the lines of R+ training. She has responded really well to positive reinforcement tactics (such as clicker) in the past, so I have hope! I'm just not sure what it should look like/how I should be responding when she does this. I wasn't brought up riding with R+ training, so I won't pretend for a moment that I'm any kind of expert/purist...but I would really like to learn more about it if that is what works best for my mare!
What can I do on the ground and under saddle that will help us both to move forward (literally and figuratively, lol!) in a positive manner?