This is both a rider issue and a horse issue. My barn just got a 10 y/o OTTB. He is full of personality and is really cute. We got him from a lady who was letting him sit in pasture for the past 4 months so he is somewhat out of shape, but still knows his stuff. I have never ridden a more difficult horse. I have been on "the crazies" who buck at every turn and spook at everything. He isn't like that. I've never seen him buck or anything of the sort. His issues are all on the flat. The lady was jumping him 3'3 at one point and I tried him over some cross rails last night. Jumping is not the issue at all. He can jump like a dream.
No, his issues are all on the flat. He constantly pulls on the reins, pulling me forward. He is super lazy and won't speed up unless you have a crop AND spurs. Once you get him into the canter he lasts about a lap before "quitting" and going back into the trot. It also doesn't help that his trot is THE WORST I've ever ridden. It is super short and springy. Even at a faster pace trot, it is still not very comfortable. He did have a knee cap issue a few years ago, but we had him looked at and the vet cleared him for jumping. It is almost like all his training was focused on the jumps, and the flat ignored. He will collect very nicely, but fights it after a few laps. He also neck reins better than direct rein. He also leg yields. My trainer thinks he has dressage training, which makes me wonder if there is some cue I need to give him that I don't know. Or maybe a cue I'm giving him without knowing and that's why he pulls so much. And it isn't the bit. We have him in a full cheek snaffle, and he actually likes it. Anything else he chomps on. That one he doesn't. It is sweet iron, too. He also likes to dodge off the rail at one particular spot and more or less side yield away from it. We have only ridden him 5-6 times in the past two weeks. All of this combined makes for a difficult ride.
I'm also having problems keeping my heels down, which is absolutely necessary on him. Due to his bouncy trot my legs keep moving back and my heels up. I found out the only way to keep them down is to keep my calves pressed on his side at all times. But then my legs hurt. (And here I was thinking I was an in-shape rider, haha. He sure told me!). Any tips for making them stronger and keeping them down? I wearing 3 week old sythetic field boots that I'm not sure if they are broken in or not yet. Any tips for anything, me or him, please let me know. I'm one of two students who are allowed to ride him and my trainer has a broken foot and can't ride for another 2-3 months. The other student doesn't come out more than once a week, so its pretty much up to me to fix him. If we can't, we may not keep him. (Keep in mind he is suppose to be the new lesson horse, he is not owned by me. I'm just riding him)
~He knows when you're happy
~He knows when you're comfortable
~And he always knows when you have carrots.