Horse Unwilling To Now Go Through Open Gate
QUESTION: My new horse is well trained but lately he refuses to go through this gate way? He acts just Stupid. He is fine and then gets to the entrance to the "Turn Out Paddock" and won't lead into it or out of it? I am so mad at him, I get so upset. What is wrong with my horse? Pulling and tugging does no good? It is Spring now and I bought him last fall. Should I BLIND FOLD him, then lead him through, like my Trainer says???
ANSWER: For some reason he is balking (refusing to willingly go foreword). DO NOT blind fold this horse. A blind folded horse can Spook and seriously injure their handler and/or themselves. Ignore what your Trainer says!!!
This can be cured by simply letting him stand there. Just stand there with him and don't ask him to move foreword. Let his lead rope only loose enough that he can look around without feeling any pressure on his head. Talk quietly to him and pet his shoulder. Make sure your own body and voice are completely RELAXED. You must be relaxed so he does not sense any feeling from you, his trusted LEADER, except "Relaxation". I don't care if it takes 1/2 hour or 1 hour or 2 hours of quietly standing there, eventually he will be glad to move foreword without Resistance.
Sometimes this is caused by something new or spooky to the horse (something new hanging on the fence) or where ever. (One horse I knew wouldn't move in a certain spot during the afternoon when the sun was glaring off a new metal roof on the barn.) That is why you have to think like a horse and figure out what his concern is. Look where he is looking!!! By standing there, totally relaxed and not pulling on his head, you will be able to see where he is looking.
Most often in your case, it is caused by a change in the surface of the ground at that point. The horse is resisting because he does not want to step foreword onto that piece of ground. I suspect that since all gate ways end up with a hollow from the horse traffic through them, that it is either muddy or even now a water filled depression at this time???
NOTE: Indeed it ended up that the gate way had become a hollow depression in the ground and the horse was afraid to cross this muddy/water. The owner did not help by trying to inch her way around the gate post so as to not to fill her boots with mud/water and lead the horse at the same time? Case Solved!!