It think these words sum it up.
The trainer gave you a huge red flag of not working with your horse for the first 15 days. I would have brought my horse home THEN. And I wouldn't keep sending the trainer money if I didn't think they were meeting certain expectations.
She did work with him for the first 15 days. There was a 2 week period in the middle where she admitted that she did not.
You've been complaining that you don't have time (nor want to deal with) a green "unbroke" 4-yr-old colt at this point in time. Nothing wrong with that, but instead of sending him for training for $1300 or $1800, why didn't you give him away and buy a 7-yr-old trained trail horse for $1500? (Easy to find right about now, with the way the market is.) Or why did you even take him on a trade in the first place, when you could have gotten cash for whatever it was that you sold? For the end goal you wanted, you really did not set yourself up for success. Again, hard lesson learned.
Maybe I'm wrong here, but though I'd never used a trainer before I thought that sending a horse to a trainer was a viable option? No time or location to do it myself, why not pay someone else to do it? Other people do that all the time. I AM in a position now this winter to break him (which I am doing). However, at the beginning of this summer I was not - due to time and location constraints.
I took him in trade because at that point in my life I was in a position to start him a year later. However, circumstances changed. Yes, I could have sold him. I admit I was a bit attached - what is an unbroken unregistered 4 year old going to go for? Meat. I felt like I owed him something since it's MY circumstances that let him sit untouched until he was four
And just kinda curious since you've mentioned time and time again throughout this thread about ALL the horses you've trained successfully, and continue to insinuate that you can do better than this trainer did ..... How long has your horse been back, and what have you accomplished in that time frame? Are you going to be able to walk, trot, canter, direct rein, move off pressure, and pick up his feet in 45 days? (Although we know he still can't pick up his feet, because you said the farrier took an hour to do his feet. That is YOUR responsibility to teach; not the poor farrier.)
Since he has been back I had to leave for work again, however I did have a month to work him. In the first week he got to where you can easily handle all four of his feet with no problems. My dad trimmed and shoed him before our hunting trip with zero issues, I was very proud of Atlas :) After that first week or so of working with his feet and doing groundwork I took him to the bush.
After the pack trip (11 days) I only got on him twice before I got sent out of province for work. Those rides were just at a walk. However he is long reining well, giving to the bit, and moving off of hand pressure. NONE of which he was doing when I got him back.
Like I mentioned, I'm gone now so haven't worked him again but will be starting again once I'm home. Amazingly, I thought I had a "very difficult" horse, but everything went VERY smoothly once I had the time to start working him
Yes, there is not a doubt in my mind that accomplished more than the lady I paid. I mention the colts that I have started in order to make it clear that I am not a complete noob when it comes to starting horses. In the end, it's all good! Lesson learned. I GOT RIPPED OFF. But I shouldn't have trusted her like I did either. Atlas is doing well now and he's quickly becoming my little sweetheart.