I don't know, our gelding has done this, buddy sour, we know it is, when mare's around, Mr. Angel...so we free lunge him first until he's showing us he's ready...when he is, THEN we'll put halter/lead rope on him and work him, but not until he is done with his little games.
We get snorted at, and I know he doesn't perceive us a a threat, yeah, then he prances around showing off with tail up, uh huh, he's challenging us, and showing off.
It's a respect issue, he has some, like poster above said, but it's still not 100%. We're working on that. He's coming around, just takes time to check yourself and establish that they can't get away with their games of dominance, that eventually you win anyway.
Gelding is figuring it out since we are spending more time with him now, so he's behaving much more quickly now, sometimes, he behaves from the get-go, just walk out, halter him, lead him out, work him, great; other days, naw, not today, so then the free lunging comes in, then to halter/lead.
We won't fight with him and set up a pattern of resistance (with halter/lead), so this method seems to work for us to avoid all drama. With more time, I suspect we'll be able to just walk out to pasture, halter and lead him in without any free lunging first or resistance to being away from buddy...not there yet, but getting closer. We are getting some wins here, just not consistently yet.
I don't now, not a professoinal, but free lunging first, then with rope halter/lead works for us and gets his attention, and he's good, that's the goal isn't it?
Does it matter how you go about it if he's learning and moving in the right direction?
Each horse is different.