I have really, really tried to teach him right. And tried and tried and tried. He basically does what I want, but has attitude doing it. He ties, leads (with attitude), stands for hoof trimming, ponies (with attitude), loves to be groomed, and has even worn a very lightweight saddle and is cool with it, can be touched anywhere, etc.
I got a few hours in with a professional trainer and Zane now yields his shoulders, hindquarters, backs up when I kiss to him, etc.
All sounds great, right? Wrong! He is very playful/mischievous/disrespectful. He thinks life is a big joke. All he wants to do is play, either with me (by trying to nip) or with my older gelding (climbs all over him). I had a scary incident where I was ponying Zane and he climbed on the gelding who I was riding and knocked me off my horse. I was bruised but okay. Now I admit I a bit afraid to pony him because I don't want to get climbed on. I have ponied him a handful of times since the incident though. He is bouncy on the way out, and tired on the way back.
And ground manners, well, I try to work with him a bit each day, and he goes through the motions but is always trying to mouth me. He has taken to walking around with his nose stretched out (he knows he will get smacked if he actually bites) and bumps me like a shark. I honestly think he is pushing my buttons to get a reaction.
It has gotten so that I dread working with him because I know I will get really upset and discouraged. I just CANNOT, no matter what I do, seem to break him of the nudging/mouthing/nipping behavior. He respected the trainer, but I had a friend haul me/him 3 1/2 hours away to work with the trainer, and had to pay for the trainer and gas, and I just can't afford to send him out again so soon.
I know he's a baby, but everyone acts like his behavior will only get worse if I can't cure him. And I try almost every day and I just can't do it, no matter how much blood, sweat and tears are involved.
Will he EVER mature, or is our relationship a lost cause? I know the problem is his relationship with ME. I'm the one he doesn't seem to respect. Do I give up on my first (and last) colt? I really don't want to. He has a deformed leg and I don't want to send him out into the world with an unknown future. However, I don't want to be upset and cry everytime I work with him either. If I just keep plugging away and punish him for nipping, with he ever come around? Or will things only get worse? If we had pasture I think I would turn him out for a couple of years, but I can't afford to board him long-term.
He does everything I ask, but has attitude doing it. All I really want to accomplish is to be able to pony him and lead him so I can take him places and he doesn't have to live in a pen until he grows up. Is that too much to ask?
Thanks for letting me vent. I know there is really no answer to this, but I am so discouraged. I think trying to train my colt (gelding, actually) is the hardest thing I have ever done. At least mentally, the toll has been really hard. I don't know if I should keep plugging away or just quit working with him for a while. Or give up altogether.
It's not like he's wild or anything. Here is a photo of him saddled and tied. (Please don't give me to much flack for that- I just saddled him, walked him around, and took it off) It's just that he can't be good to save his life. He always has to have something in his mouth, and he always wants to play with someone.