He's much calmer with me now (will fall asleep in the cross ties, can be very lazy while being ridden) and I am making progress on ground manners although we have a long way to go - he came to me with poor ground manners so I think its a learning thing, not just a he doesn't respect me thing.
We still struggle with a couple of issues, first he will still randomly spook at things, and not caused by me tensing up (which I can do, I know when I am causing the spookiness). As an example, the other day I was riding outdoors and he was being a saint. We cantered a circle and halfway down the arena a couple of people who were sitting watching got up to walk out. He saw this (before me) shied sideways and bucked. I was fine - I spent the last 8 months basically walk/trot with him so my seat is much better now, but I worry that this is just something he'll always do and I know at some point I'll be on the ground. He spooked in the indoor yesterday as well (it was quite windy out).
The second challenge I have is jumping, I have a trainer and her working student is helping to get him back into the swing of things. Sam either charges, or bolts / bucks coming out of just cross rails. He doesn't all the time, maybe once every 10 times... but its alarming and a lot for me to handle (hence working student doing most of the work).
Needless to say my guy's not a bombproof horse who is going to show me the ropes on the jumping course. I have learned a lot with him, but I'm a bit apprehensive on the jumping side. I love my horse, I don't want to give up on this but I guess some days I wonder if I'd be better off trading him in for a true(r) schoolmaster.
I guess I'd just like some thoughts from those of you more experienced than me on how much you think a novice/intermediate rider can handle in terms of jumping training (obviously with help from my trainer) and also if you have any tips on how to better handle the spooking - I mostly just try to keep his feet moving and his mind occupied, but every now and then something catches his attention and he freaks.
Thanks... sorry that was long!