I love my boy, Mojo, but he does turn out to have an issue or two. I think having something to work on makes a horse interesting, but I'm concerned about what is the right thing to do about his behavior when I saddle him.
When I first got him almost three months ago I was told that he did not like having the saddle placed on his back, and sure enough he pinned his ears and snaked his head toward me as I did it. I spoke sharply to him when he did it, but otherwise ignored the behavior. When he began to swish his tail and cock his hind leg, I became concerned and sought the advice of others at the barn who said to just ignore it.
Unfortunately, the problem is getting worse and he now kicks, with one leg, backward and sometimes forward under his belly. Today he even did it a couple of times as he was being groomed. I figured enough was enough--concerned about the behavior escalating--and decided to give him a swift smack with the dressage whip instantaneously every time he did it.
But now I'm wondering...did I do the right thing? What do all you experienced horseman think. I'm just getting back into horses after a long lapse, and I've never encountered this problem in the past. I want to maintain his trust, but back in the old days this method is what would have been used. Now with new techniques and new understanding there may be a better idea of how to handle this. What would you do? (Sorry for the book!)