We spent some time researching and looking for two horses (as we each wanted to learn to ride them for pleasure, on trails, etc.) and knew we'd want them with easy-going temperments that would be good for beginners.
We found two horses that seemed absolutely perfect for what we were looking for. We went to the farm where they were located, watched them interact with the other horses, spoke with the owners for a couple of hours and asked a ton of questions, and rode the horses ourselves. They each seemed very laid-back and affectionate. We went ahead and purchased them and had them brought out to our home approximately three days ago.
Since then, we've been having a bit of a problem out of one of our horses...
Sarge is a 9 yr. Old gelding quarterhorse. He had been with the family we had purchased him from for just a little over a month but apparently had formed a strong bond with their family. He was originally intended to be the horse for their 7 year old daughter (who we watched ride with ease!) and of the two we purchased, we were most comfortable with him.
After being here, however, we have had a few problems out of him. When in the pasture he is absolutely fine. We can each go up to him without him retreating, kicking, or bucking and pat him down, groom him, or feed him a treat. He also is very submissive to the lead rope when walking him inside the enclosure. We don't have to tug on his harness to get him to turn and he usually follows on command.
However, when trying to tack him up, he gets agitated when waiting. More importantly, he has bucked both my husband and my brother-in-law off of him as soon as he is saddled up and they try to ride him. As a result, we now feel very intimidated by the horse and I'm sure he's picking up on the fact that we're beginners.
The previous owners are due to come out and observe him and our interactions with him, but we are feeling a bit discouraged and apprehensive now.
Meanwhile, our second horse (a 3 yr. Old gelding Tennessee Walker) has done phenomenally well, is very affectionate towards us and we have ridden him with no problems whatsoever. However, he was not with the previous owners for a long period of time and didn't form the bond with them that Sarge did. I have a feeling that this could be the major problem---that he is still very uncomfortable in a new environment and we shoudl not have tried to ask too much of him at once.
My questions are: what can we do to begin laying a groundwork for developing a bond with this horse? I don't want him to think he has the dominant role in our relationship, but I also want to find a safe way to go about correcting his unease towards us (without us getting bucked off and thrown from the saddle again!)
Any help you can offer will be much appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!