Anyhow - I was told that the mare they had available sounded just perfect for me. She hadn't been out on the trail recently, but with 2 weeks of minor work (just being under saddle again, etc) that she'd be totally fine. We were told that my daughter's horse had not had as much training (basically green broke) but that her only bad habit was that her head carriage was a little high.
So - we get the horses home and my daughter's horse refuses to walk forward at all - she will only rear and continuously back up. After working with her for weeks, something seems to have finally clicked and she is doing so much better. They've made progress in various areas - and while I was initially really pissed off at the seller, I can see that this horse is at least WILLING to learn and work - and seems to enjoy herself now that she's figured out what is being asked of her.
Now - for my horse - the one who was supposed to be easy. She is extremely dominant and was so pushy (on the ground) when we first got her. We've made a lot of progress with that, but she still has some things that need tweaking even there. She started with the annoying habit of refusing to walk on when asked. When pushed (meaning with some coaxing with some leg) she eventually would walk a few feet only to start the whole thing over again. When she learned that we weren't giving up at that point she started head tossing. I took her out on the trails last weekend for an hour and at she started the head tossing maybe 5 min into it. By the time we were on our way back, it was getting ridiculous - she'd keep stopping and every time I'd ask her to move forward, she'd toss her head higher and higher. It ended with her rearing and with me getting off, because I admittedly do not have the confidence to fight with a horse that I do not entirely trust at this point.
I looked online and asked for advice here on this forum - switched her bit (to full cheek snaffle), switched the saddle (in case the other one was bothering her). Nothing worked. Instead, she is becoming increasingly difficult and is starting to act up as soon as she sees a saddle pad. Thinking that it could be the saddle, my daughter rode her with a bareback pad. Same thing. As a last resort, we tried a halter (with reins) AND a bareback pad - same thing. So it can't be her teeth - it seems like it's a habit becase she's in a pissing match w/ us and does not want to do something simple like walk in the ring for 10 minutes.
The head tossing was bad enough - but now she's started rearing (not full blown rearing in the sense that my daughter's horse had been doing, but her feet are still 6 inches or so up off the ground).
So, I spoke with the woman I bought her from last night and she's saying this has to be a new habit. She's swearing that it will be easy to fix and told us to tack her up, lunge the crap out of her, and then have my daughter get on her while still on the lunge line. As soon as she tosses that head to have my daughter get off of her and lunge the crap out of her (repeat as necessary). Now we did lunge her yesterday (before riding) and she suddenly stopped, faced my daugther, and reared in her direction. I thought it was a fluke, because she's been pretty good in the past when lunging. Went out there this morning, even though my daughter is in school (she's 18), and figured I'd at least be able to tack her up and lunge her for a while. Well that worked out OK for about 10 min and she suddenly stopped and did the same thing to me - faced me and reared at me.
In the meantime, I spoke to a local trainer yesterday who also happened to have a few horses for sale. We went by her barn, rode some of her horses and it was so amazing just to be able to get on a horses back without having to do battle. Her advice was to return the horse - she thinks (and my daughter does to) that once we fix one problem, that she is going to develop a new one because of her disposition. My question is - what do YOU think?
Before I went out and got on another horse's back I couldn't even stand the thought of placing Lollipop. Now I realize that it doesn't HAVE to be this much work and I honestly feel that I was misled (and yes, I admit that I am partly to blame because I was so eager to find myself the Paint that I have always wanted that the woman must have seen an easy target).
So I guess where I am now is wondering if it's worth investing even more $ into Lollipop for training (while missing out on all the trail riding I could be doing) or if it's smarter to cut my losses and return her and buy a horse that has more training (even if it's not a Paint ).
I guess I'm especially annoyed with myself because I could have taken my daughter's TB and had a great horse for what I wanted, but because I had my heart set on a specific breed that I made a costly (financial and emotional) mistake.