(sigh) I guess I need to push myself to be firmer with him, although sometimes I find myself unable to because I don't know if I am being unfair or fair, or if it's too late to react. (AS a matter of fact, how long do I have to reprimand him for a bad behavior before it's too late for him to make the connection?).
Unfortunately, you only have a few seconds before he will no longer make the connection. The best way is to anticipate the action and then correct it immediately. You can be firm without being unfair.
I would love to do that, but he isn't my horse and I don't know if they'd allow me to. I have lessons early the morning and he is eating when I get there, so i usually let him eat and then saddle him up 20 minutes before the lesson. I'll try to figure something out about that though.
I thought he was yours. Well, I guess that may not be possible then. :/ If it's possible for you to ride him other than at lessons, you could do it before riding. Or just overall spending time with him, petting him, grooming him, etc. will all increase a bond. You don't necessarily want to ride him every time you go out there because he may get resentful of you, especially if he doesn't like to work.
I guess patience is the only way. Although do you believe it is just a habit or him testing me? Or both?
Patience must be present when handling horses. :)
With Shamrock, he's just being naturally curious. Horses are by nature. I doubt he's chewing on reins to test you, but to be curious, figuring out what they are. And it may be a habit of his to mess with things with his mouth to figure out what they are or to attempt to play. You've just got to stop the behavior so he doesn't mouth the wrong things or end up ruining tack!
I tempted to, but I am in a situation where it would not be possible. I don't think she is a horrible trainer or would ever put me in danger, but I think it's more that I have lost some respect and admiration towards her (I could name a whole list of reasons why), so when she gives a command, I second guess it and question it. This makes things worse because I don't do the command right away and then she get's mad because I take twice as long as I should to do it.
I know what you mean, I was in a situation with trainers that I didn't necessarily trust. And come to find out later, they are very corrupt. But you have to remember, she is the expert and you're paying her to teach you, so when she tells you to do a command, do it when she asks unless it feels dangerous. My trainer often tells us to do a certain command when we feel comfortable. Remember that her goal isn't to ruin you, but to help you learn riding and handling horses. But then again, if you don't have a good relationship with your trainer, you're probably not advancing. You could try talking to her. It's hard to give advice on this when I'm not sure what she's necessarily done to lose respect. :/