Lets see what advice I can get on this very frustrating topic.
Last month (December), I took my novice friend, age 17, to her first horse auction. The only horse at the livery I work at (she volunteers) that she is able, let alone comfortable, to ride is the 100% sane child's horse. She's "typical," I guess. Wants to be the horse's friend, not their leader. 'Oh look how beautiful!' at the horses going crazy -- the broncs, the babies. Won't make them work if they don't 'want' to. At the auction, I rode a gelding she was interested in for her. I fought him a little in the arena, and after a while (got him to go where I wanted to go -- against the far wall where he had wanted to turn around at on his own), I allowed her up.
He took two steps forward, turned around, two steps BACK to "starting point," and stood in front of me and his seller. Stopped -- that was all. I knew it was a done deal, but she fell in love with his painted coat & bi-colored eyes. "So cute." But she wanted off of him; horse wins. While we stood and talked to the owner, he started rubbing his head, even headbutting her -- oh how cute. (BLECH)
And then I caught her on-line talking to someone about how "he did better for her than me, and I'm the experienced rider." This annoyed me -- so I called her out.
Any suggestions on getting her to understand that horses thrive off of leadership compared to food-induced 'friendship' and flowers and rainbows? Being she volunteers with me at my work, with 24 horses, I can imagine her getting hurt. She hasn't been out there a lot and is an accident waiting to happen.
For example... Once, she tied the aforementioned horse too close to our "herd leader" (we have geldings/mares, no stallions), also our largest horse, at feeding time. Predictably, herd leader kicked herd loser (her favorite). My boss yelled at her to move the herd 'loser' immediately. She rushes over and... proceeds to bend over (between her favorite horse and the leader's rump), her head even with where her favorite got kicked. My boss was frantic, and the girl just didn't understand the danger.
I want her to be safe without losing her love/interactions with horses. I'm considering taking her along when I work with my gelding, who's not as nice as my boss's kid-safe livery horses. It genuinely scares me because she's the type to impulse-buy on a "pretty" horse... Right now she's looking at a green broke (the current owner got no proof from the previous owners if the horse can even be saddled, and hasn't saddled him on his own) paint gelding her uncle owns. (Facepalm here.)
I tried to explain the "Green + Green = Black, red, & blue." But she just doesn't seem to get it and wants to stable a paint horse with her neighbor's horse, down the road. I've even given her scenarios... But no dice.