I have a 9 year old mare that has never been started before. She has excellent ground manners. She had 9 years of ground training prior to me acquiring her. The most recent 3 of them were spent being a spoiled little princess with the previous owner. She did minimal work on her and ponied her kids on her back.
You can tie her up in a bow, lay on her belly when she is on the ground. She will follow you, back up, go to the side, etc with you on the ground. It's her in the saddle that is the issue.
Every time I hop up on her she has a thing about not going forward. First time she backed up. Whatever. Worked with it and I can get her to back up on command now. She will turn in circles with me with minimal resistance. Her main issue is going forward. She will not go forward unless someone is in the center of the round pen. They don't even have to move. That is the only time she will respond to her forward commands. We have been on her about 5 times and we are struggling to get her to go forward. My 2 trainers are baffled, my husbands dad who has broken-started more horses than my hubby and my ages combined is baffled. My husband is stumped as well.
The vet says she is sound. My local saddle builder says my saddle is fine. She has a wonderful temperament. Comes when called. No other issues than wont go forward.
I use a 15 in leather saddle that is pretty light. Maybe 20lbs? I 'm under 120lbs so I know it's not a weight issue. She isn't sway backed. We are using a D ring snaffle bit.
There is a 2 year old stallion (not mine) on the property that we have her and another mare (not mine) separated from. He will be gelded the 21st of next month.