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Hi, I loan a 16 yearold cob,and when I;m riding he'll just randomly stop whether in canter,trot or walk,not always in the same spots.He'll just stop and then refuse to move.I'm really not sure as to what's causing it,he's fine with his owner but his owner can only walk and trot.He was used on a lesson the other day and he was fine,I'm not sure if its me or what.He's not lame or anything like that,I've spoken to a few other horse owners and my riding instructor but they don't kno whats causing it.He's done it in the outdoor and in the indoor.He doesnt stop because of changes in the seat so its not that.
Does anyone know what could be causing it or what to do?
 

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This is a question for your trainer. You need to only be riding with the trainer present, until this is resolved. If the horse is only stopping with you, then its you. As to whats causing it, that would be impossible to tell hence why you need to go to riding with your trainer only. They need to fix the problem, before it turns into something worse. I would not allow anyone on this horse in the mean time.
 

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Unfortunately, you have a stubborn, balky horse. I had one of these once.

The solution: ride them through it.

The horse has picked a spot to stop to get out of work, and so far he has been successful. That is why he keeps going back to that spot and stopping. There is no question in my mind that this is a behaviour issue, not due to saddle fit or other health reason. This horse is picking the same spot every time. It is a learned behaviour and you are enforcing it.

A lot of people try a work-around for this problem by taking the spot away from the horse. I don't recommend this as it just masks the underlying problem.

I solved this issue with my mare by taking her to that spot over and over and over again and making her walk, trot, or canter passed it until the behavior went away. You need to show your horse that they stop only when YOU tell them, not the other way around. You need to get after your horse asap and stop letting him get away with it.

Get your horse to move passed that spot no matter what. Get your crop out as you will probably need it if this escalates, and hold on tight should your horse throw a sudden temper tantrum. My mare once did some mini-rears during this phase (although never did it again after) -- she was absolutely determined she did not have to listen to me. I just held on and pushed her through it and within a few weeks the issue was gone altogether.
 

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^^^ the OP said it is NOT the same spot. and its not with other riders.


If it is truly just when you ride him, two things I thought of:
1. You are doing something small you don't know you are doing and it is causing him to stop, whether it is because he think you are asking for the halt or he doesn't like what you are doing and is telling you by stopping.

2. You are asking him to do things that he is not asked to do by other riders and he is fighting you by stopping.

In ether case you need a trainer there with you when you are riding.
I wouldn't be to fast to rule out tack fit, seat, hands, legs, or anything. To rule out something right off the bat is a mistake and you might miss the cause.
Don't take it as a blow to you riding ability if it's you ego only gets in the way and makes learning harder.
But, this needs to be fixed, him or you and fast. If it's you then to keep riding without fixing is only ingraining the habit into your muscle memory and that will make it harder to fix later. If its him, saddle fit or retraining needs fixing.

Good luck, keep us updated with your progress.
 

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What do YOU do when he stops? Do you get after him quickly and make him go forward or do you just sit that and wonder why he stopped? If it is the latter, you are simply letting his get by with stopping and pretty soon that is all he will do. He will refuse to move out of his tracks or go anywhere for you except back to the barn.

Either way, get some help sorting it out and fixing it before it escalates to backing up and rearing.
 

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My mom's Andy used to do this. My mom used to be a very fearful rider, so when she got on him they only walked/stopped/did some lateral and maybe trotted, but as soon as my mom tipped forward or tightened, he would stop and not move. At first my mom found it endearing, but since he started doing it ALL THE TIME it wasnt good anymore... as mom started gaining momre confidence, we realized he did it to get out of work.

She had to make him go forward. Trainers could make him go forward, I could, but she couldnt for the longest time until one day she sucked it up and got after him. After correcting the stopping issue a few times, he hasnt done it since.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
He's always been really lazy and stubborn and I've been one of the only ones who can get him to go,we'll warm up and then after our first canter he'll just stop,I spent about five minutes at one point just to get him to take one step.When he stops I'll squueze then kick then tap,I'd push my hands forward,I tried everything.He did this on Sunday in my lesson with my trainer and she looked at him said she really doesn't know what was wrong so said to get off and turn him out and so I did,he'd been on a lesson earlier with a little girl where they'd jumped and he was fine.His adult owner rode him on Tuesday and said he was fine but she only walks and trots.I rode him on Wednesday again and when he stopped I'd make him take a few steps ahead then my friend would chase after us,but the minute she stopped chasing us he'd just stop again,in the end I got off and lunged him then also lunged him over a few jumps as we keep getting refusals and he was doing well and then he just wouldn't take off and ran right through the jump so I put it back up,made him go back over it and then left it on a good note,so put the stuff away and then got back on and walked off to cool down. His owner rode him again on Thursday and he was fine.On Wednesday I was talking to some of the other horse owners at my yard and they don't get it. I will check when I'm next down at the yard but I don't think it is his saddle,we've had it checked recently.
 

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First, in agreement with the others, get a knowledgeable horse person or trainer to watch you ride. If your current instructor or trainer can't spot out problems, you need a new one.

Do you use different tack than the other riders?

The horse may think, from other times, that with you he can get away with things. If your trainer does not see anything wrong with how you ride, then it may be as I said above. Act like boss when he stops, immediately cluck, give a big kick, or smack with a crop.

I would honestly check how you are riding first. When I'm cantering on Zan (lesson horse) she will sometimes halt unexpectedly. It's not her being bad it's my seat cueing her to stop, because I suck at sitting her canter! :D
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My horse will do this if she feels me getting out of balance. It saved my bacon on the trail when she spooked, spun, and I started falling. She immediately stopped her nonsense and waited for me to get back in the saddle before she started dancing again. I don't know who taught her this trick, but I'm very grateful for it.

In lessons, if she starts to stop when I get a little off balance, but I know I'm going to be fine, I squeeze and cluck to get her back to speed. She and I have gotten this down to a pretty nice science.
 

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It sounds like he has just figured out how to get out of work with a less experienced rider. If he's being used in lessons this is a pretty common thing I hear about. Horses want to do the least amount of work possible and stopping has worked for him.

I agree with the other posters that if your trainer can't help you through this it's very telling of their experience level.

Stop trying to make him go directly forward, as you have experienced, it is not working and i'm sure you're making yourself tired the longer you try. I'd be carrying a dressage whip on this horse, every time you ride him. Instead of asking for forward, have him do something else where going forward becomes the easy thing.

Bend his head around and disengage his hindquarters, use your dressage whip to get him moving with quite a bit of energy. Once his hind end is moving around quite a bit, this will cause his front hooves to get unstuck if you will and they will start to walk a small circle too.

As soon as you feel him take a step forward with a front hoof, turn him loose on the buckle and leave him completely alone as long as he goes forward. Again, let going forward be the easy thing, so don't ride with contact for the moment or try and keep him forward with your legs.

Then try at the trot, again, ride along on the buckle and let going forward be the easy thing for him to do where there isn't any pressure on him. Don't squeeze with your legs or bump him to babysit him into keeping going forward. Get him to the desired speed then leave him alone. If he breaks gait, give a squeeze then tap with your whip to get him back to the requested gait then leave him be. I'm not saying you do micromanage this way, but it is common that riders do this on a balky horse. All you're really doing is getting him more dull to your leg if that is what you do.

When he is nice and forward, then ask him to come to a stop. rest a moment then ask him to go again, repeat this a couple times. The reason you don't want to immediately stop and dismount is that you do not want him thinking that you'll be getting off. You want him to think that he should still be prepared to go. Once you go again, you don't need to work his butt off or anything, a nice forward walk will do. You just want him prepared to go if you ask instead of anticipating that you will dismount.
 
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