OK, so the ground is really REALLY slippery when wet out at the barn. I don't know if it's some kind of clay or what, but even just walking around your feet slide a little. I feel sorry for all the horses that have paddocks on the hillside- how do they not slide down like skiiers?
My friend Janaira loaned me an older dressage saddle to try on Jasper. It's a Crosby and has short billets- weird! Great shape, though. So for the first time since they've been in the big pasture, I brought Jasper up (without his fearless leader Alexandre) to the tack room, groomed him, yelled at him for standing sideways, pawing, and pulling, and tried on the saddle. It appears to fit him great. Took him to the arena and walked around looking for non-slippery ground. Found a little section and rode around without much success as he was still sliding. Decided to go ride in a small field by the arena, it had grass and weeds growing in it so the footing was better. There wasn't really anything we could do besides walk around, so I decided we'd work on stopping. And standing still. And thus began a 2+ hour battle.
I'm out of ideas. Help anyone? What would you do? Is he too young/ is he too hyper/ too stubborn? It's not just under saddle. He can't stand still while tied either. He paces from side to side, paws, and dolphin kicks out with his hind legs.
I would sit deep in the saddle, he would sort of stop for a microsecond, and then would do a myriad of other things involving moving of body parts. First I tried circling. When he refused to stand still I let him walk in circles and he got to pick when he stopped. I was hoping he would realize it's easier to stand than walk in circles. Nope. After a while I would pull him in a circle and he would stand still with his nose to my stirrup. He would stay still until he got his neck straightened out and then would begin moving again. I also tried an assortment of other tactics. He would back up (got nudged forward) go sideways (got nudged on one side until he was back where he started), go forwards, (got pulled back), pawed (got a quick tug on a rein), bobbed, shook, and threw his head (um, usually nothing- I just wanted his feet still). The instant he stood still he got rewarded, got praised and stroked on his neck, all was calm, and then after a few seconds got to walk forward. Usually he stopped moving because he saw something in the distance and was focusing on it. Obviously by the end I was frustrated. Usually the instant reward works after a while. They realize, hey, when I just stand here everything is good! When I move my feet everything is bad. Choices, choices. It's like he doesn't have it within himself to keep all four feet in one place. Maybe I just shouldn't ask him to stand still at this point, it just seems like kind of an important thing to be able to do.
What would you do?