I am working with a teen and her horse in transitioning him from the track to a pleasure mount (I do a lot of hacking and reteaching whoa, backing up, and standing still while being mounted and dismounting). Peanut was given to her by her previous riding instructor for free. He has been off the track for 1.5 years due to lameness in the right leg (unsure what it is as the teen has not had him x-rayed or checked by a vet).
I am helping her put some miles on him. I am not a trainer nor do I possess several/decades of horse experience, I am simple a woman who has had a few years of Western riding lessons and have had the opportunity to own a Belgian mare before she passed away in 2009. I need some help with Pea as I do not fully agree with what the owner wants done about his behavioural concerns. I live in Canada and there is no barn/arena to ride in. I ride in ALL weather conditions besides hail and blizzards.
This is my question/concern:
1) Whenever I ask for a trot Pea immediately starts throwing his head then puts his nose down to the ground and curls his back as though he is about to crow hop/buck. I immediately transition him to a walk and when he's calm I ask for the trot again, and once again he displays the behaviour above (while still trotting). The owner told me to use the crop and whack him in the shoulder with it when he does this. What are your suggestions?
2) When told to walk through a small puddle (one that a human could easily step over) he immediately starts spinning and rearing. The owner told me to once again use the crop and whack him in the shoulder or forehead. She has also told me to hold my reins low and spread apart and to kiss and squeeze with my heels. I have not whacked him with the crop and have not had the opportunity to do the kissing and squeezing at this time. Does this sound alright? (the reasoning behind wanting him to go through puddles is that where we hack, the ground dips quite a bit and we cannot avoid puddles or wet ground).
3) Pea's limp is quite pronounced at a trot (even after a 15-30 minute slow paced warm up) and he appears to be in some discomfort. The owner told me to still work him through the limp and to use polo wraps around his front legs. I am doing this but feel that there is a better solution to this. Any ideas?
Oh, I forgot to add that Pea is currently using a bitless bridle. He does have a bridle with a bit but I have not had the opportunity to use it yet.