After having him 6 days, I have made observations that contradict my previous assumptions ... his behavior is baffling. And dangerous.
On the ground he is not dangerous. He is difficult to catch but will never push through you or kick you, even when he's cornered. When you catch him, he's very easy to handle and follows you like a puppy. He stays close to your shoulder and is very easy to control. He is a little skiddish, but nothing that is TOO extreme. When I am saddling him, he lifts up his back leg and swishes his tail, but doesn't actually kick and he doesn't move away or pin his ears back. Just kind of a "ehhh, I don't wantcha to"
In the saddle, he is explosive and unpredictable. Sometimes he will walk on just fine, other times the slightest sound will spook him and he will go into a frenzy of jumping around, bucking, rearing, ducking, etc. Today, I had three bad episodes with him within 40 minutes.
First episode. I got on him and was riding him fine, not a care in the world, tadarump tadarump, and I asked him to move in a figure 8 pattern between a couple of cones. I asked him to turn, and he just side-stepped and kept going forward, so I used my heel a little (a LITTLE!) and he exploded. Three big bucks, I was flung into the air, and I landed on my feet... I was still freaked out though.
Second episode. I gave him some time to calm down, lunged him a bit, and when the tenseness was worked out of his muscles I went to get back on. Before my foot was even over his back, he bolted. I managed to swing into the seat and keep my balance, do a one-rein stop (which may have saved my life), and dismount because I was so shaken. He had nearly thrown me over a gate (he rampaged into it... I thought we were gonners because he'd reared up and looked like he was going to try and jump it). Luckily I didn't fall off, regardless of the fact I had no stirrups. It took me a minute to work out the awful cramps I had from squeezing with my thighs, though >=/
Third episode. He rode fine, just like the first time, and then suddenly exploded. I was more prepared this time because I managed to get him with the one-rein stop. Once he stopped I released, and he walked on like nothing happened.
Wth? This horse is extremely dangerous... Is this something I can get him out of by November 2, when he goes home? I feel like this is a mental problem. He's not afraid of people, he just wants NOTHING to do with them. Someone must have done something pretty awful that he still hasn't let go, if he's acting like this, surely?
Please, any advice is TRULY appreciated.