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I have a thoroughbred who is very confident in himself when on trail and riding. We recently moved barns and he now stops while walking with him on the ground and will not move for anything. He is not afraid of his surroundings and has never offered a spook or buck. It takes me almost an hour just to talk him up to the arena. He walks back after a ride perfectly fine, but the problem is getting to the ride. Any tips or idea what the problem would be appreciated. I often don’t have a second person at the barn with me to assist in this issue. Thanks!!!
 

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What do you do when he stops? You said you talked to him but I think that might be a typo,do you mean take him to the arena. If he walks back just fine and he takes his sweet time going to the arena to work, well it's kind of obvious. He doesn't want to go to the arena because it means work, and you allow it so he does it. If my horse started dwaddling on the way to anywhere, he would get a swift smack on the butt.
 

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You could try to just turn his head until he has to step off then keep him moving that way.

The fact that he only does this on the way to the arena to work makes me think that like @waresbear said he is avoiding work.
 

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What is good & worthwhile for him about going to the arena? Why SHOULD he want to go there? Does he get rewards along the way? Is he rewarded when he gets there? I agree with Wares, that if he stopped of his own accord, I'd be finding an effective way to get him moving & make him not want to try that trick again. But I'd also be thinking long & hard about his desires & dislikes & how you can get him to like & look forward to the 'work' you make him do.
 

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How is his personality? You said he is 'very confident' … this to me means he's a leader, not a follower. Those types of horses will frequently test their riders, and in my experience if you give that sort of horse an inch he'll take a mile. He is playing you, because every time he has done it, he's received the reward he was after - delaying work. Until you make stopping harder than walking, he'll continue to test you this way.

If he were mine and he stopped like that I'd put his butt to work right there on the spot. Do it any way you like - yield his hindquarters with energy, or turn him round till he's facing away from the arena (that shouldn't be difficult) and run him backward, or lunge him at a very fast trot for a few minutes, whatever you can think of to work him hard right there, until he's huffing and blowing a bit. Then without letting him stop, start leading him at a walk toward the arena like nothing happened. Or carry a whip with you if you like, and when he stops give him a smack on the butt to move him forward again. If you've got a long lead rope you can pop his hindquarters with the end of the rope.

There's any number of ways to get your point across - if you stop here, your life is going to be hard. If you keep walking, your life will be easy. It might take a few repetitions but your horse will get it. You can also do something unexpected. Saddle him like you're going to work but when you bring him into the arena, take it easy and make it a nice relaxing 'nothing ride' as I call it. Just walk around a bit and then get off and put him away, or don't work him at all and give him treats instead, or pet him a while inside the arena then head out for a nice trail ride, etc etc. Make going to the arena a pleasant thing for him, not a chore. You'll have to waste a ride, something I absolutely hate doing, but if you can do it a few times he'll learn that just because he's going to the arena doesn't mean he's going to have to work hard.

It's just like catching a horse in a field - if, every time you catch him, you make him work hard, he'll get wise to that very quickly and decide maybe it's not in his best interests to let you catch him after all. 'Catch' him a few times and give him a treat, then let him go, or love on him and let him go, and he'll very quickly decide that it IS in his best interests to let you catch him.

-- Kai
 

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My first mare did this. At this point I hadn't even ridden her yet so I don't think the idea was to get out of work. She didn't want to leave her pasture mates was more like it. She was the alpha horse out there.

What I did with her was just turn her head and get her feet unlocked. The first couple of weeks that I had her, she was in a quarantine pasture and it was not a problem to walk her. Once she was pastured with other horses is when she started to say no. I had to zig-zag her to the barn to groom her two or three days. After that, she would just walk with me.
 

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If he's not going forward, make him work. Don't give in, because that's probably what has happened...you may give up & then he thinks oh, if I do this/if I don't move, she will allow me to not work.

Change directions, back him, leg yields, etc. Get him moving. Be firm, but fair. Or, handwalk him to the arena, then get on. etc. Make things interesting. Change it up. The same old thing may get boring, or he may dread it.
 

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I have tried that. He was abused with a whip by his previous owner so hitting him does nothing. Thank you though!

I don't think a whip/hitting is the answer. Have you tried squeezing? Clicking? Changing directions? Etc? Make things interesting. Handwalk him up to the arena like I suggested, make it different. He could just be dreading what's next. Horses can get bored/arena sour.
 

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So some good thoughts shared here...

Mine...
Why should the horse do anything??
Because you asked it of the animal...
You recently moved to a new location.
The horse although "trained" is testing boundaries and authority, leadership of who or what to follow...
Does he take top position and do as he wants or does he do your bidding as requested?
To me, testing and questioning your authority and ability to keep him safe and to make him do ...
If you are at all tentative in handling him he is using it to his advantage to refuse you and your requests.
He has a past history of abuse...so hitting him may not be a way to make the feet move.
Choose your means carefully to get compliance...
Move his feet...
If he plants them going forward then march them backward...right through the barn, past his stall and keep on going...
If he balks, turn to move the feet and start again...backwards, if necessary.
It may take you hours to get to ride but once you make the decision to go to the arena to ride to not make it their just gave the win and upper "hoof" to the horse.
You have a far superior brain than the horse, use it and outsmart him cause you can not out-muscle him ever.
Pick your battle, go with a positive energy and mindset that this ride is going to be a nicer than nice ride and steps positive made...
Go with a attitude of trouble just getting to the arena and the horse will comply with that thought and give you a sullen attitude and resistance.

To me this is simply a respect issue.
You have lost or not earned the respect of the horse in this new environment...
Get his respect, do the groundwork to prove you are leader and many of your issues will disappear.
You already said he rides fine and returns to the barn easily...
He challenges your respect and handling, leadership quality on the ground going to....
Respect...plain simple R E S P E C T.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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There's your problem right there, he was hit with whips unjustly you think. Well being boss horse, you have to justify it. Or you can let the horse take his time to the arena, your choice. Horses love & respect leaders, they take advantage of underlings, which he regards you as.
 

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My green horse used to do this when she didn't want to go somewhere. I tried many things, but the most straightforward one with the least amount of "baggage" afterward is to simply be deeply annoying, while radiating cheerful patient persistence. I would just thump her sides with my heels -- not hard, not fast, but keeping it up. Thump. thump. thump. It isn't scary or painful, it's just irritating. It doesn't require getting off, backing up, turning, "working hard" -- all of which my horse could easily figure how to use to her advantage. It doesn't get the horse riled up, nor does it send any kind of a message which could be confusing. Walk forward as asked: no thumping. Stall out? Get thumped, until you start up again. Very simple.

It's really not about "respect" in my view, it is just making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.

As soon as one single step forward is made, no thumping. Instantly. Stops again? Ask nicely, then start thumping. The first time, could take a long while. But the second time won't take as long.
 

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My green horse used to do this when she didn't want to go somewhere. I tried many things, but the most straightforward one with the least amount of "baggage" afterward is to simply be deeply annoying, while radiating cheerful patient persistence. I would just thump her sides with my heels -- not hard, not fast, but keeping it up. Thump. thump. thump. It isn't scary or painful, it's just irritating. It doesn't require getting off, backing up, turning, "working hard" -- all of which my horse could easily figure how to use to her advantage. It doesn't get the horse riled up, nor does it send any kind of a message which could be confusing. Walk forward as asked: no thumping. Stall out? Get thumped, until you start up again. Very simple.

It's really not about "respect" in my view, it is just making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.

As soon as one single step forward is made, no thumping. Instantly. Stops again? Ask nicely, then start thumping. The first time, could take a long while. But the second time won't take as long.
That's fine for a green horse under saddle because some don't quite get the forward thing. However with a broke horse, leading him to an arena and taking an hour? Ridiculous in my books.
 
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That's fine for a green horse under saddle because some don't quite get the forward thing. However with a broke horse, leading him to an arena and taking an hour? Ridiculous in my books.
I wouldn't lead him anywhere. I always try to avoid getting off for any reason! Anyway, Brooke would baulk way after she understood perfectly well what I was asking; she just didn't feel like doing it. She was just trying something out to see if it would work in her favor. She's the kind of personality that's always trying things on to see if she can get something out of it. I imagine the OP's horse might be the same way -- new place, maybe there's new rules, won't know unless you try.

It still works the same way. The reason I like it as a method is that it is so simple and calm. There's nothing involving a chain of reasoning like "if I don't go forward I have to run around in circles for a long time". It's just go forward or get thumped. Pick one.

It works for me, and the nice thing about it is, there's no harm in trying it, unless of course you give up before the horse goes forward.
 

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It still works the same way. The reason I like it as a method is that it is so simple and calm. There's nothing involving a chain of reasoning like "if I don't go forward I have to run around in circles for a long time". It's just go forward or get thumped. Pick one.
I love this method, lol! My mare is rather difficult to lunge. She just stops and will NOT go forward. I've used the whip. I've swung the lunge line at her. I've waved my arms and jumped up and down and gotten angry and used my big scary voice. None of this ever works for her, and it just turns the entire experience into something negative for both me and her. The thing that gets her to move? If i swish the lunge into her shoulder repeatedly. I'm not slapping her hard with it, it isn't causing pain, it's just...annoying lol. She gets annoyed with it pretty quickly, and moves forward. I stop the swishing immediately, lots of praise ensues. We have gotten through entire lunge sessions of WTC this way.

It narrows down the choices to go forward or be annoyed, like you said. I work with toddlers on a daily basis, and horses are honestly very similar. Both are easily overwhelmed with too many options. In the case of a disagreement, narrow down the options to one desirable, and one that's less desirable. They still feel like they get some sort of say, but you are facilitating the outcome you evidently want. Everybody's happy.

Lots of praise for the right thing, treating if you use treats, verbal praise and pats if not. Put a carrot on a stick and dangle it in front of him. LOL! I'm not even kidding...make it worth it for him to go to that arena, using a mixture of making the wrong thing hard, and making the right thing not only easy but a really good experience. It might take time, but keep a positive attitude, and he will learn! It's worth it to spend the time.
 

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It's really not about "respect" in my view, it is just making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.
I think it is absolutely about 'respect' but IMO it's just an unhelpful 'stating of the obvious' to say 'the horse doesn't respect you'. It's about as helpful as saying 'he's not doing what you want because he's not... doing what you want.

'Respect' is just an 'umbrella term' to me, meaning the horse may not understand &/or trust &/or enjoy being with you. They may be frightened or grumpy or confused, or have learned they don't have to be 'obedient'... or they've learned there's no benefit for them to be obedient. Though a horse can absolutely be obedient & 'reliable' & still have no respect for you, because they've been trained to 'just do it' and know that unpleasant(er) things happen if they refuse.

I get the idea though, that you mean by saying this, that it's not about the horse just refusing to 'do what he's told' or not seeing you as 'Boss Cocky' or some such. Or as many seem to use it, to effectively mean the horse must fear them, or fear their consequences.
 

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That's fine for a green horse under saddle because some don't quite get the forward thing. However with a broke horse, leading him to an arena and taking an hour? Ridiculous in my books.
I certainly don't use it just for green horses either. This is probably my main 'go to' tactic whenever, to get a horse to do something they don't want to do(assuming they understand what is wanted), now I think about it.

So, green or otherwise, If they understand basically what it takes to 'turn me off', I will make it uncomfortable(but not hurty, scary) for them to do the 'wrong' thing and easy/good for them to do the 'right' thing. And maybe this means one step at a time - depends on the horse, their prior lessons... I just go from wherever that particular horse is at, progress at whatever speed it takes, regardless whether they're 'broken' or not.

This horse may have been taught inadvertently that it works for him to just stop & resist, so he will try it repeatedly, until he's sure it no longer works. So it will very likely take longer to get the new message across than it would to a green horse. Whereas a green horse may think *what happens if I ignore this cue?' and when they find out it leads to unpleasantness, they may rarely try it again. So you might have a 'broke' horse that takes an hour to go to the arena(if it's a looong way...) the first time, but it will take far less as you progress, if you're consistent & effective, but for a green horse, IME, you will get the same message across, make the same behaviour changes a lot quicker & easier.
 

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Yes, I have grown to dislike that word "respect" in training. Or child-rearing for that matter. It is a loaded word which can be used in a profound way, but in many cases is simply a euphemism for fear. Like everyone else, horses want to live in harmony with others, and to make pleasant things continue and unpleasant things go away as quickly as possible. As trainers and as horse owners, our job is to create an environment for them in which the path to all these things is unambiguous and straightforward.

By the way, my Brooke came home two days ago, from a month at the horse hospital. This is apropos because guess what? She is baulking on the lead rope. A couple of her legs are still heavily bandaged so she's a bit awkward ,but I know her -- she's doing it because she found that at the hospital they wouldn't get after her for it, they just gently coaxed her along with treats. Nice deal! She's hoping that is still the case. It isn't, so we are doing a wee bit of a refresher course in leading. I do this by driving her forward from her shoulder, but my point is that any horse, any age, can decide to try out something new, or go back to an old habit you thought was forgotten.
 
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