Something I noticed about Z, when he was still at his owner’s place, was that he seemed to be a bit of a punk. He seemed to push his owner around a little and appeared to have no respect for her personal space.
Then he came to our place for a tune up on his training. From the very first time I started handling him he was the perfect gentleman, so I thought “Maybe it is just the change of locations and that he remembers me from when I worked with him before.” I mean most horses seem to pretty quickly realize that I am not really someone they can push. ;>
But after watching his owner, my wife and my assistant all handle and ride him before and after I had, I notice that he was fine when I am working him but quite different with each of the ladies. For me he came off my leg quickly and easily, neck reined from a light touch, pick up any gate I asked for, etc. When any of them rode him, he would ignore the leg, cut off the arena, blow off the aids, on and on. Basically he was a passive aggressive little pain.
Now each of these ladies rides differently. One with more leg strength, one with better hands on the aids, one with perfect balance, and so on, but his reaction to each was almost identical. So what I feel we have here is a respect issue. He has it for me. For them, not so much. ;>
So what do with do about this. Many trainers would tell them to get after him in the saddle. Just “force” him to listen and obey. I approach this a little differently.
We are going to take him back to ground training. Start over from the basics with each of these ladies working with him. Beginning with making him stand still while being handled and touched. Then contact movement, followed by no contact movement, then on to short line spiral lunging . In short, all the work I did with him way back when I first had him in training. The goal here is to get the same respect for each of them that he already has for me. Once he is the habit of automatically following direction from humans of both genders, then we can go back to saddle training.
Just goes to show, each horse presents you with unique issues.