So granted this isn't something that happened recently, but I was thinking about it and decided to post because it brought up some interesting thoughts.
I have a 6-turning-7 OTTB, and he is by far the best horse I've owned to date. I went through 2 before finding him and he is a great match. He's got the get-up-and-go when I want it, but is content to laze around with me on trail rides 85% of the time. He tries everything I ask, and we've chalked up a nice resume of stuff we've done together. I can dress him up in any amount of flappy costume stuff, and he is gentle and I always kind of wondered if he was more beginner horse than I initially thought.
So anyways, this teenage girl asked me if I'd give her lessons on my horse. She had been volunteering at the barn I worked at prior, so it wasn't like she had 0 horse experience. I told her if she wants to come out I'll teach her what I know. Because I am in no way an instructor, I told her she could come out with me for free, and I looked at it more as having a riding buddy, because at the time my horse was at a new barn where I had no one to ride with.
So she came out only twice, and boy did I see a side in my TB I never thought I'd see. He became an evil twit in the span of ten minutes. He has NEVER given me an issue brushing or saddling. But I almost couldn't believe it when he started cow kicking at her when she brushed him. I told her to just give him a slap in the shoulder to tell him no, but every time she'd get near him, he'd flick his foot at her and she literally run away from him. It initially started with him just stomping at flies while she brushed, but eventually he was actually flicking his foot at her. I tried to go correct him, but he knows darn well not to pull that stunt with me, and stood like an angel every time I went to brush him.
So I finished brushing him and got her to saddle. Again, the brat wouldn't stand still. I ended up having to hold him against a fence. This is the same horse that I ground tie to saddle in the middle of the field.
Then she gets on, and at least he stands for that. I adjust her stirrups and try my darndest to instruct her in a helpful way. He didn't do anything outright stupid with her once she was up, although I did notice him taking advantage of her. Every time she loosen up the reins he'd break into a trot, and every time he got a chance he'd stop at the gate.
I admit she probably wasn't the best rider - we all start out there and I'm far from perfect - but I've never seen my horse be so darn bad.
And afterward he was again my perfect angel.
So a couple months after I brought him back to the barn he was first at, and is now residing at. Part of my board agreement is they can use him for trail rides if needed. So they put one of the better volunteers on him ... and he takes off with that volunteer, deciding that he'd rather lead than be behind. They now put only very experienced riders on him.
I kinda laugh about it, because I really don't know if I should consider this a problem, and how to fix it if it is. Because he doesn't do any of this stuff with me. In deed, not three days ago I rode him in completely bareback, and he stopped and turned like an angel.
So is there a way to teach a horse to be beginner friendly?