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Tantrum in the arena

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Today, I wanted to ride in the arena for a little while (we usually do trails). My boy was not in the mood apparently and threw a little tantrum about it. He wasn't responding very well and I did not feel like I had good control. He did some hops and a tiny rear. Being a novice, misbehavior does scare me. I made him take a few more steps and just sat for a few minutes, so that he would not think that behaving that way would cause me to dismount. Then I led him to the round pen and lunged him for a few minutes to make sure that he didn't think his work was done.

What do you do in this situation? He's mostly a good boy, but occasionally he acts up. Did I do the right thing or should I have made him go around the arena? Sometimes he does this just as we are leaving the barn, but will settle down when we get moving along the trail.
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If you are a beginner rider, I would lunge him before you take him out and see if that helps. He may settle down and get in the working mindset a lot better for you if you can't get him to work for you under saddle right off. I would absolutely not tolerate any sort of bad behavior such as this. Little hops and rears soon turn to body crunching hops and rears if not corrected right away.
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He may be playing because he is feeling frisky and knows you won't reprimand him for it, but i'd still curb the habit right when he does it, so he learns its a big fat no-no.

My western pleasure mare would buck and play in the roundpen like she was a bronc when lunging with a saddle, but if I got on her fresh, she knew better than to test me, lol. I'd try and get into the same habit with your boy, where he knows when to work vs. play. (Some people don't even let them play in the roundpen, but I don't think it hurts as long as they aren't kicking up in resistance. If you know your horse, you can tell the difference.)

It could really hurt you if you don't reprimand him now. If you can sit these small rears and humps he is doing, I would turn his nose sharply to your knee to get him to quit, then do very fast, tight circles with him a good 10 minutes. I'd do this every time he tries anything under saddle.

If you aren't comfortable with doing that and he still acts up after being lunged, take him to get ridden for a week from a more experienced rider, then take a couple lessons on him with them. Pretty soon, you'll be a pro!
 
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