sounds like he is much more constricted in the arena. Outside he carries himself and feels the occasional changes you want and he is fine with that - he carries himself in the frame he needs. He is light to the cues. In the arena, there may be too much contact (with entire body) and directing that makes him less comfortable with his balance. Freedom of neck and being in the frame he needs also allows him to balance. Sometimes helping a horse a bit too much gets in the way of a horse balancing himself.
Try to really see what you are doing on the trail- legs, hands, balance and replicate in the arena. Might try a short trail ride then arena - if it doesn't feel the same or if the response isn't the same to go back out to really evaluate what you are doing that is different. In the arena consider going around and thru obstacles (not perfectly as balance and understanding will improve to make better circles later). It is interesting how a horse will go around a barrel or .... as opposed to circling nothing.
Seems like whatever you are doing outside works.
If he just has a 20 minute attention span or that is as long as he can physically, comfortably do the circles and patterns , you can break it up by doing something different before the 20 min pass.
Caveate. - I don't know the horse or his background or his genetics, he could just be a major jerk, but I doubt it since he is such a nice horse and in tune with you outside and appears to try for 20 min inside.
I recently had a DUH! moment. "Natural Manhorseship" is much like the pressure (escalate pressure) /release method of "Natural Horsemanship (generic) thinking." The horse (generalization) will make what is right/correct easy for the person.and what is wrong hard. (they won't do what the person thinks they are requesting - they do what the person is actually asking) If the person doesn't get it, horse will increase pressure.
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