My fall off a hyper horse thoughts?
I have an issue with my recently acquired horse, and could use any advice on how to curb a nasty and dangerous "behavior".
I've been riding dressage for about three years, staying at intro and training level mostly. I have recently leased Max, a 12 year old black quarter horse. He was formerly trained as a barrel racer, and has spent several years training in dressage, but still falls into some bad habits from his barrel racing days, for example dropping his left shoulder (the most obvious) etc. He is an excellent dressage prospect simply for the way he's built and the action he has, he moves like a warmblood has a lot of power and is 16'1. I'm experienced enough that I can handle his energy well, and have been working on muscling up on his left side to stop the shoulder dropping problem.
The problem with Max is that everytime we go outside of the railed in arena, Max starts acting up. He's fine when he's not facing the barn, but the second we turn around and look at the barn (I know it sounds odd) he starts to spin, turn around, buck, kick, and just today as I was two minutes from taking my dressage test at a schooling show, he went onto his hind end, at least 90 degrees, and I slipped off his back and fell HARD onto the ground. Thus far this is the only time he's thrown me.
Everytime I've worked with Max outside of the arena, he's been hyper sensitive to everything around him so long as he doesn't look at he barn or otherwise. If there are other horses around he's a "little bit" calmer, but still will spin around. Today's dressage mess was embarrasing and frustrating (I didn't even get to enter the arena!), and made me realize a couple of things: Until Max and I conquer this fear I'm not going to be able to even school show him outside of an enclosed arena, (and to ALWAYS wear a helmet).
I can guess at what made him so hyper outside of an enclosure, I'm pretty sure in his younger days someone probably beat him severely... for that matter his western training sounds like it was not too kind (I don't know too much about his history save that he needs an advanced rider).
Does anyone have any ideas of how I could work with him on curing his "hyperness" whenever he's outside of the arena? Has anyone use calmatives with any success or is it even an option? Thoughts Ideas? I would greatly welcome any. ^_^
P.S. also, I am very sure as was mention to me by anoher rider who had worked with him, that I was NOT giving him any commands that would have made him spook on the day of the dressage test.