Thank you both! I haven’t been able to get my vet out yet, but hopefully this week I can. I did ride him on Saturday, and I gave it one last go, and boy am I glad I did. He did ah-mazing. What I had previously been doing to fix this problem that my trainer suggested (pulling and pushing him the opposite direction, and when he would finally go that direction, immediately release him. Pressure motivates, release teaches/rewards is sort of my philosophy) but clearly that hasn’t been working, the past few days I did try the whole make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard, and it really worked. I circled him in really tight circles whenever he started pushing the opposite direction, and within a few times of doing that, he caught on very quickly each time and was an angel. And this was with having two new friends in the pen next to his, which he normally would have been dying to get to. Of course it won’t be like this every time right now, but I think I may have found my fix if it isn’t health related. I’m also going to be able to start working him more (3-4 times a week, gradually working up to that) so I think that will help.
I think this, combined with the groundwork I’ve been doing might actually start to pay off. He has so much more respect for me on the ground, twice now he’s ran up to see me, he’s been waiting patiently for me to get his halter off when we’re done and waits to see that I’ve gone out the gate and don’t want him to do anything else for me before he even takes a step. On Saturday when I was riding him, after he stopped pushing me into the corner, he kept asking me what I wanted him to do. Instead of just plodding along with whatever I tell him, he was asking and searching for things to do. Several times I went past that corner, and he, without me asking, gave his head to me on the opposite side the corner was on.
I may be getting ahead of myself here, but he generally seems like such a happier horse, and he is enjoying pleasing me again like he used to. I really do think this is because of the groundwork I’ve been doing with him, and now what I’m doing when we’re riding. Within a week he’s turning back into the horse I knew when I bought him, but even better. So I just wanted to update you all and say thank you SO much, because all your advice really helped. I am still going to get him checked by the vet, but I think we’re back on the right road now if he checks out fine. So thank you all 🙂