Yeah, that pretty much describes my horse right now.
Background: I started teaching my horse to jump last summer. We had some issues with his anxiety and bolting problems, plus some other unrelated drama related to the barn, and so we took a break until fall before starting again. We (my trainer and I) started off in the fall putting Kalo over ground poles and eventually little crossrails. The problem was, he was scared to go over the poles and then scared to go over the crossrails. We'd work him on it, he'd relax, and then the next day, he'd be scared of the ground poles again. That's been going on for quite a while. We've gradually worked up to a small vertical and a crossrail-vertical 1-stride within a session, but the next day, he's back to being scared of ground poles. We took December off from riding him over poles/jumps and did a lot of free-jumping and ground work to get his confidence back. However we started riding him over ground poles again last week and it's the same as before.
What we know:
-He doesn't like his rider losing their balance. He also has a tendency to stop, or "teleport" to the side when he figures out he's really truly supposed to be going over a pole.
-He's normally not unusually spooky. He's spookier in the arena than outside on the trail; he's extremely brave on the trail, untroubled by bunnies, birds, brush, logs, ATVs, etc.
-He is wary of poles when led over (no rider) but will go over them much more easily than when ridden over. He can be led over by someone on the ground and me mounted to "get him started" more easily. He is also wary but significantly better with free-jumping than with a rider.
-He can spook at a pole 5 minutes after he was going over it easily.
-He goes over at a trot more readily than a walk, and a set of 3 more readily than a single.
-If it rolls, gets moved, looks funny at him, or is approached from a different side, it's not the same pole at all and must be approached with great suspicion.
None of these would bother me in their own right, except for the "goldfish-brain" where he can't remember
that the poles aren't scary. Does anyone have any insight as to why he might do this? I know part of it is my riding, and I have tried to focus on being more forward and resolved while keeping my seat solid and back. But it's not the entire problem. I am willing to be very patient as long as I have some hope that he might get over this one day, but everyone I ask has never quite seen this problem to this extent before.
This is him free-jumping—no problems at all: