I recently took in a 5 year old Appendix gelding from a friend of mine who I've trained for before. Some background info. On the horse: He's a racehorse. My friend is an older horseman who is set in his ways and refuses to change (other ways may work but to him is method is proven to work for HIM). He likes to cowboy his horses, and uses a very heavy hand. He also tends to just bring the horses straight to the track with very, very little foundation work. This particular horse, Amigo, is very sensitive, very responsive, and when he's afraid my friend tends to take it as defiance. Amigo is no longer racing, I'm training him to be a riding horse so that he can be sold. He's skittish but has almost instantly bonded to me, follows me around, respects my space and listens very intently to my body language.
Now, I've only done two days worth of round pen work with him. I plan on riding him the beginning of next week. Today, I went to his left side and positioned myself as if to mount him (he was not tacked up I just wanted to see his reaction, I've seen him be hell at the racetrack) and automatically his head shot up, his ears flicked back towards me and his eyes rolled towards me. I placed both hands on his back and when I placed pressure on him he tensed and scooted forward very quickly. He turned right around and came back to me, licking and chewing, but he obviously wasn't pleased at the thought of being ridden. I did it a second time, same reaction except he backed up. Again, came right back to me, very willing to be with me but unhappy about the idea of being mounted. [NOTE: His owner and I have ruled out medical issues, so it isn't a back injury.]
So, what is your input on this situation? And please don't criticize my friend, it's not why I posted this. I have my own opinions about his training methods and have told him I don't agree with how he does things but we have a good working relationship despite our differences. I have my own ideas and have a plan worked out in my head on how to approach the situation and get his confidance back but I want to hear what YOU guys think. Like I said, I love hearing other people's ideas and I may just revamp my plan if something sounds better than what I have in mind.