It's official. Gabe is a butt head. And he's a rotten, stubborn brat. I tried to ride last night and spent the first 15 minutes dealing with his temper tantrum. His tantrums consist of...are you ready for it? Really ready? Alrighty, prepare to be shocked! He throws a tantrum by standing still and refusing to move in ANY direction. I think he's part ass.
He is a conundrum to me in this aspect. I have never, ever had or ridden a horse who had forward motion issues. Typically I have to figure out how to throttle them down several notches, not throw the whole thing wide open and hope for at step forward! Grrr. The silver lining is, when it comes down to it, I'd really rather him be stuck on stop than stuck on gallop madly around with broken brakes.
I took a crop with me and tried the typical move forward NOW method...squeeze, nudge, kick, SMACK! He ignored the squeeze. He ignored the nudge. He ignored the kick. He squealed and tossed his head and came up off his front a bit with the smack. Hmmm...not good. He's just unbalanced enough at this point that going UP would most likely mean we'd go OVER. And that's not a place I want to be, ever.
So, we argued (at a stand still!) for about 15 minutes. He did agree to make little circles, but putting one foot in front of the other wasn't on his menu of options. Finally, one little movement forward and I praised him like mad. Then another. More praise. What a good boy! It seemed to click but I was still having to really work for each stride. Five more minutes and he was striding along nicely but still kind of uncertain about what I was asking. And then we'd stop and he'd refuse to go forward again for awhile until suddenly, the squeeze clicked and forward he went.
I checked my saddle fit and it actually fits him better than any of my other horses. When I have the vet out to pull Coggins on all of 'em and do shots and teeth, I'm going to have the once over done on him just to make sure there isn't any joint or body soreness that is making him reluctant to go forward.