There is no question that the horse is spoiled by the owners. I have watched them work with her and it involves a lot of 'Kissee-kissees" and treats....and then she does not behave for them.
Meanwhile, the horse's behavior with me has included (attempted) biting, kicking and bucking.
I have asked the owners for tips and advice on handling their horse in the past, and have been repeatedly been assured that she's "really good". IOW - they are not really "hearing me" when I have told them about these behaviors. They just continue to insist that she is a very sweet horse.
I decided to handle her using some of CA's methods including lunging for respect. And I am happy to report that we have been making progress. The horse's ground manners have improved immensely.
In the saddle, we still need some work....but things are generally coming along.
The owners are not usually at the barn while I am working with the horse. But yesterday, they rolled up while I was there and were horrified to see that I had a lunge whip in my hand. Now I could understand if they had arrived to see me flailing away at their horse - but I was not doing anything of the sort. I was simply holding the whip in my hand.
The owners are now insisting that I am not to even have any whip of any kind anywhere NEAR this poor sweet horse, as they are sure I will frighten her. I tried to explain that I have been using the lunge whip and riding crop for MONTHS and the horse has absolutely no fear of either - but they are not hearing me and continue to insist that I am going to cause the horse to be head-shy and fearful of people.
The owners want me to work with this horse using voice commands only. If the horse misbehaves in any manner - I am simply to say "No!" in a firm voice - but no yelling, just a firm voice.
If the owners themselves were having stellar results with this training method, I might feel a little less frustrated...
Instead, I am just dumbfounded.
In response to biting, kicking etc - I am only "allowed" to say no???
And THAT is supposed to "correct" the problem???
Does anybody have anything encouraging to say that might help me feel a bit better about this situation?