I purchased an 11yr old thoroughbred gelding in February from a lady who does eventing, she used him for dressage and the lady she got him off used him for showjumping. Before that he was a racehorse and was somewhat successful.
When I went to meet him he was pretty skinny. He was very friendly and came straight up to me, then stood calmly beside me (with no halter/lead on) while I chatted with the owner for a good 20-30 minutes.
I turned him out when he arrived so he could put on some weight.
I haven't done a lot with him over the winter. (grooming, spending time in the paddock with him, pretty much just letting him be a horse.)
His attitude and ground manners where fine until he started gaining weight.
Now he's quite pushy and doesn't respect my space, he's mouthy (chews on his lead rope but hasn't bitten anyone. Yet.) He's very fidgety when tied and doesn't stand still. And more seriously the other day he spooked (I've got no idea what at as nothing out of the ordinary happened) I was grooming his rump at the time and was standing at his side, he managed to spin his back end towards me, hitting my foot and damaging it before I managed to throw myself out of his way. I managed to calm him down a bit then turned him out but he pranced off looking quite tense.
I don't consider him dangerous, he's usually not a spooky horse (so far he's been fine with dogs,chickens,chainsaws,motorbikes,tractors,lawn mowers. He even comes over for a look when we burn anything in our incinerator) This is the first time he has ever spooked and I'm positive I was stood on simply because I was by his hind legs and wasn't expecting it.
I was planning on bringing him into work for the summer for hacking/trekking but now my parents are insisting on selling him because he's "dangerous". In my opinion calling a horse dangerous because he's spooked once is bullocks but both my parents scared of horses and don't know much about them.
I would love to take him to a good trainer/instructor however I live in a remote area and we only have 2 trainers available. I have been to both in the past, one for riding lesson which we're an absolute waste of money (that instructor thinks is a good idea to teach all students to drop their reins and grab the saddle when they feel nervous/unbalanced. Which is plausible in a confined arena on a push button lesson horse. But it quickly becomes a very dangerous habit.)
The other is an older fellow who I went to privately with my last horse when I wanted to start show jumping, he was so set in his ways that after a month with him I was to intimidated to ask him anything because he would accuse me of "questioning him". Even if it was something as simple as "was my position okay over the last cross rails." I stopped going to him and ended up selling that horse because it was refusing jumps, bucking, striking out and had starting biting. (I'm not blaming him but it started a few weeks after being at his stables and i'd owned the horse for 2 years before then and never had a problem.)
I'm looking for some advice/opinions from people with more experience and who can look at this from an unbiased view.
Should I sell him and find another horse or should I go with my original plan and start groundwork then reassess how we're going?
P.S. I have read the "Playing the Hero" -- when to 'stick with it' & when to realize it's time to move on-- Thread but it hasn't helped my decision.