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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mare is one year under saddle. In August she went to professional training and they worked wonders. She truly is a great horse.
In the barn we moved to there is only one exit and entrance to the arena and when she decides she is done working it is very hard to get her to stay inside of the arena.
Today I was working on a loose rein to work on getting her responding to my seat. 95% of the ride was great but as soon as she decided she was done whenever we got too close to that one side she would ignore everything. Id put my outside leg on, she'd just speed up towards the wall.
Even when we are working with our trainer she does the same thing. She'll take out chairs and mounting blocks to get to where she wants to go. And when I think I have worked it out of her and shes doing better she starts up again.
I ended up picking up a crop to keep her from running out of her outside shoulder but unless I am harsh with it she could care less.
What can I do?
 

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Something you can do is never end at the door or go right out the door when you're done.
End the session and get off at various other parts of the arena. Go to the middle, the other wall, etc. After you get off, do not leave the arena. Spend another ten minutes doing something positive inside the arena. Some options would be to take the tack off and let her roll, to have her stand in a corner and feed her hay or treats, to bring in another horse and turn them loose together. Anything to make her think that after the session, good things will be happening inside the arena rather than only after she exits through the door.

I'd also consider whether you are doing too much arena work, and not enough variety. Are your sessions somewhat the same, involving circles around the arena? If so, I would try to add some change so she is not mentally bored. Trot over poles, work with obstacles, or even have an exercise day where you do not give cues but only spend time free walking, trotting and cantering at whatever speed and direction she wants to go. But also outdoor walks and rides are important, if possible. Even just going around the stable to break things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ill have to add more variety. We used to do a lot of trails but everyone moved out and I dont like doing them by myself. Ill need to just get over it.
We did just add poles, not enough to make up for just going around in circles though. Ive been putting so much time into getting her other gaits squared away.
I will try that tomorrow.
 

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I think changing up where you stop will fix a lot, as @gottatrot said.

When I school in an arena, I changed it up. Even getting off and loosening the cinch or girth and leading them out.

If we're out, checking fence/water or handling cattle, I go back to the barn and either turn away, letting them stand until they are relaxed, or walking away again for a bit and then coming back.
 

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when I am riding I never stop at the exit, to talk to someone or for any other reason. We have an arena at the back of the pasture and no fences, the horses never try to pull out to the barn and i have told others when you are finished riding never leave on the side heading back to the barn, always leave on the opposite side and walk around the pasture, don't go right back. So far this is working they don't even think of heading back to the barn.
I have been riding my niece's horse and he is a bit of a barn rat. When i ride in the front paddock we go right past the barn door and he will try to stop or slow down there, I get right after him and make sure he understands that he is working and not allowed to stop there. The first time he didn't like it but after a couple of times where he had to keep going, no excuses, he was ok with it. I got after him the first time just walking by and him wanting to stop as i feel it's better to correct the small things right away and not let it develop into something bigger.
The others have some good ideas and they should help you. When you are riding past the exit have a clear idea of where you are heading, looking right ahead and be thinking ride right past this exit.
I understand that you want to ride with a loose rein using seat and legs and that is good but when she isn't listening to you, you should be prepared at the exit to use stronger aides until she can do what you want and understands no slowing or stopping here, then you can go back to seat and legs and do it successfully as she knows you will correct her if she doesn't
 

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You have a barn sour horse. Not uncommon, but it sounds like it's getting dangerous.

My horse would start heading for the arena gate (similar one way in/out setup) when she'd had enough dealing with the nut on her saddle. If she gets through, she gets very balky at being asked to go back in. We're working on that and she's improved dramatically, but there's a ways to go yet.

Suggestions:
  1. Walk her through that gate, in and out, multiple times over the course of your riding sessions for a couple weeks. Teach her the gate doesn't mean "done". This has helped my mare a lot and very quickly.
  2. Work her more after leaving the arena. At my stable, the round pen is right next to the barn. When my horse started trying to tell me she was done, I'd let her head to the barn, then dismount and lead her into the pen, all tacked up, and lunge her for another ten minutes. Again, this teaches that leaving the arena doesn't mean "done", and more, that going against your wishes means work.
  3. Double-check your expectations. If she's also becoming harder to catch, this is definitely something to look at. You have to strike a balance between working her enough to build her up and condition her that this routine is the new normal, and working her too much, too often. She'll come to associate you with work and pain and exhaustion and hunger, and become less and less tolerant of you under saddle and in general.
  4. Work on your bond. The more your horse likes and respects you, the sweeter she'll be for you. You can call this "training", but it's really a matter of experience, yours and the horse's. The more you work together, the more she'll learn that you're in charge, and the more you'll learn how to encourage her without harsh pressure. Per the previous point, don't overdo it, you can train and bond with her without being in the saddle. Groundwork is an excellent way to build this bond without testing her stamina.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do think we have a pretty good bond. I know I have been pushing her a little hard lately. What we have been working on is really difficult for her and I want her to get it before our next lesson.
I will do some out of arena work with her today. I have been saving up for saddle so weve been bareback for the last month which has also made me a little nervous to leave the arena. Shes solid (alert but not spooky) so I will give the trails a try
 

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I agree with @gottatrot about not stopping at the gate. Does it close? I would let the mare push over by the gate, and then I would make her work hard right there. I’d take and leave the gate and rest somewhere further in the arena.

Then, when she rushes back to it I would let her, and do the same thing. Make everywhere else the resting spot and where she wants to be the work spot.

She’s probably just trying out complaining about things and seeing if she can get her way. I think they all try a few buttons at that level of training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay. Today I took your advice and we started off in the arena. I noticed I have a habit of tacking her up and giving her lovings near the gate (the picnic table, but its close enough in her mind) So switched that up. Did a couple laps to make sure she was good and we went down the road.
In hind sight I should have at least gotten a bareback pad. For most of the ride it went great, alert/unsure but she listened. She was super responsive. We even saw some sweet amish boys driving their buggy with a chicken in the back. She did great for that.
On our way home a big truck came barreling at us towing an excavator. She spooked to the heavens and took of at a gallop. No breaks and the only thing between me and her was pavement and steep ditch on either side that would for sure have broken a leg. Eventually I got her to a halt.
Now I am worried I traumatized her to vehicles. Luckily the last few cars we past almost came to a stop until we past. She was a little reactive to those. I dont blame her, its terrifying.
 
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