I agree, but she's not a green horse. She's a seasoned nine-year-old competitor. She was broke and trained in the snaffle as a four-year-old, and still uses one on occasion (generally a Myler mullen D-ring). But she rides better in a curb.
I was being sarcastic to the people insisting she was horribly unhappy about the way I was riding her because her ears are pinned. That mare's ears are constantly flattened, even when no people are around.
I have gotten a similar-style pad for another horse. I'm afraid that if the issue crops up again, though, it's going to be a saddle issue. Although I think my cheaper economy trophy saddle might fit her better than the expensive custom one--funny how that works, no?
I did notice her flinching in the back today, which is what first clued me in to the possibility of a lurking problem, but I had just been brushing her with a metal curry to help shed, so not exactly the best circumstances to tell. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on things.
I maintain and will continue to reiterate that there is nothing wrong with the amount of pressure I put on the reins. I may need work on hand position, or whatever, but I have forgiving hands and pride myself on finesse with the reins. Maybe the videos don't show that; maybe people legitimately think they're seeing me rip at my horse's face. But I'm not, and I know I'm not.
Seat could use work, yes. Already said I'm working on that and overall riding stiffness.