I have an 11 year old gelding; he was bought at auction by a neighbor, who then gave him to me as a companion horse. He was being ridden by 2 girls at the auction, but once she got him home he wouldn't let anyone on him. So we are assuming he was sedated.
I have worked with him for a few months and he is now fine with a saddle, bridle, bit, voice cues, lungeing, etc. He is basically perfect on the ground - to include standing for farrier, vet, baths, grooming, clipping, blanketing, etc. He doesnt react to the feel of the saddle or the stirrups swinging around and is now desensitized all over his body. He is not afraid of normal 'spooky' things or the whip.
However, as soon as I put my foot in a stirrup or make a move like I am trying to get on his back, he pulls away. The couple times I have put weight in the stirrup he pulls away and bucks a few times. I have put weight on his back with a feed bag and pushed down in his stirrups with my hands and he doesn't react to that at all.
I spoke to a few trainers, but the only ones who want to assess/work with him seem like they will be really rough with him and I would feel terrible sending him to someone who might ruin his otherwise 'puppydog' personality.
Has anyone had a horse like this, or does anyone have any ideas on how to get past this step... (I know a lot will say to get rid of him; but other than that... ideas please??)
**** also he has been checked thoroughly by a vet and farrier and has no apparent health problems or injuries