It is not just trying to compensate for his mounting evasion that is the answer, but rather to fix his basic holes, that come out not just in mounting, but elsewhere< JMO
(Warning: This is so very long, but this horse has a lot of problems. I know this, I'm doing my best to clean up someone, or multiple someone's mess/es.)
Oh, he has a TON of holes. Someone started him on some very solid training... and then... I don't know what happened to him, but then he changed hands at least two other times... this last time, the owners that sold him to the person who bought him for us told him that they always used Trigger as an 11 year old's parade horse... There is no way in He double hockey sticks that horse was ridden in a parade. I suspect each time he's changed hands, the problems were just compounded, resulting in a 'ruined' horse, tbh.
Anyway.... I've not gone completely alone in this - I had a very highly recommended young man work with him all last summer - but the thing is, he was also highly unreliable. Everyone wants to get paid to help, they don't want to show up. Which is what I've found goes on in this area and its frustrating. However, that young man - Trigger has always trusted him. He has a calm demeanor, soft hands, and knows what he's doing. He comes from a long line of horsemen - he was absolutely stunned by Trigger's neck reining and the foundations of his training.
I've also had the old school rodeo and rancher type cowboys tell me he is what he is, he's been abused, sell him and buy a broke-broke horse or be prepared to just get rough with him and wear him down. *Uhm. No. That is not going to work, its actually the WORST approach for this horse*
Selling him to the first person that will buy him seems horribly unfair to Trigger. He's already made a strong 180, and the young man that worked with him last summer was very pleasantly surprised that Trigger has come to trust me and in recent months, not be afraid of strangers and men... or sunglasses.
(I admit, had I known he would be this type of horse when I bought him from our friend who picked him up at an auction in Texas, I would have passed on him in favor of a less problematic quarter horse - but it is what it is. He's mine now, I don't want to just fob him off on the next sucker to come along or someone that will brutalize him)
I think there's a misunderstanding here on the buddy thing. He has no pasture buddies. Every single horse we have, except the wee filly, hates him. IDK why. They are not friends. He is the outcast and the 'omega' if you want to put it in pack terms. He would have been fed to wolves by now if this was a wild band of horses. He is a submissive and low confidence animal. That's how I got through to him though - guarding him while he eats at feed time and driving the others off when they bullied him, and intervening when Sarge chased him all over the pasture for an entire hour trying to catch him and beat him down. Trigger looked for me, and came to me that day, in desperate need of 'saving' from the pasture bullies. He looks for me, and comes willingly to me every single time I'm outside, and he waits at his gate for me to get home. I'm his buddy. Since then, that alone is a magnificent change in my relationship with this animal. He calls to me if he sees me, he has also started trusting my husband and treats him much the same since one of our dogs was caught terrorizing Trigger and DH ran the dog off, then checked Trigger to see if he'd been bitten (He hadn't).
Now, I keep all horses away from him purposefully (Also the dog moved to my daughter's house to live with her) - Trigger stays alone 99% of the time in a 5 acre turn out with a pond and a nice barn for shelter, with only me to visit with and I'm out there daily.
He had others in the same pasture over the weekend because our BULL Carlos lifted the gate to the cattle pasture off its hinges and tossed it aside.... because he's weird like that... thus opening up the way between the two pastures for himself and his harem of cows and calves, but also the filly and our two oldest horses, Jackie and Superman.
They are all back on their side of the fence. Sarge was around because my potential son-in-law to be was using the round pen the same day.
Honestly, I'm starting to think he's trying me. He has no physical issues, I've eliminated saddling issues, girth issues (I swapped his front girth, a rope type, with a memory foam squishy gel type girth), I've had the farrier keep his feet in very good shape, with regular trimming and/or shoeing (that's another area of progress - he doesn't squirm or fuss when the farrier comes out anymore. He used to be a ****** to shoe, now he's just as calm as our 'bomb proof' teacher horse. His teeth are fine. His back is fine.
He's no dummy though. He may be the smartest horse we have.
Tying him up and leaving him... I tie him up regularly when I'm working on cleaning the tack room, and he's stood there for hours while I do that. We work on standing still in the round pen. Sometimes he feels the need to fidget, most of the time he stands for me.
I keep him guessing what we're doing today
: Some days I groom him and give him treats while tied up, fly spray, etc.; some days we just put the saddle on, take the saddle off... put it on, take it off, try out a different saddle pad for giggles, IDK. Anything to keep him guessing and curious. Some days I just stand there, leaning against the pole he's tied to, ignoring him (mostly), singing quietly to my music and cleaning the breast collars, etc, while he sniffs and investigates what I have in my hands - because curiosity is the key to him. He can't STAND to not see what I'm doing.
Some days, I just clean the tack room up, sweep it out, clean out any trash while he's tied up. Some days, he gets OOOOHHH MMAAANNN His OWN tub of sweet feed... Some times I saddle him up and just work on walking him around with and without the reins in my hands - he follows and stops when I do, backs up when I do. I don't even have to give him a verbal cue any more.
Lately he and I have had to talk about empty water bottles and how they aren't going to eat him - same for the walmart bags on a fishing pole. Some days... we just ride in the round pen while I talk to him and good lord, sing to him. Maybe he hates the singing? IDK. But I like to keep him listening to me, not looking for boogers in the bushes.
Sunday - I think he was being stubborn and trying to get me to give up and just unsaddle him - like the hip checks on mounting. It FELT like a battle of wills to me. Like subtle little annoyances to get me to say to heck with it.
The circles... I did make him go the other direction, don't get me wrong, but he wanted to have little tantrums about it. So obliging him and making him do what he 'wants' until he's sick of it - and then a little bit more - is usually the best way to convince him my way is much easier on him.
USUALLY it works.
The mounting is what had me puzzled - I've had horses walk off, I've had them swing away... but never intentionally watch and hip-check me as I lifted my boot and just almost got my boot in the stirrup. But it seems my tenacity and not letting him 'win' by giving up seems to have solved the problem. Also, he seemed surprised when I pushed back to force him to square up when he tried it that first couple of times Sunday. After that, he stopped.
I am going to try him again this evening and see what he does. I suspect its more of the right-hand circling since the hip-check didn't get him out of being ridden.
Last but not least, I am taking to heart the advice here. I am. But. He already KNOWS neck reining. He already knows leg cues and pressure and release. That's why I don't use a bit on him. I don't think he was ever trained with a bit - bits of any sort, any at all, cause him to rear up and act a complete, confused, fool. The hack was my last ditch effort to find something that worked for him. If he didn't neck rein, no way in hades would I have tried riding him with a hack. USUALLY I don't have to even apply much rein pressure the lightest touch of the rein to his neck and gentle knee and leg pressure along usually gets a swift and lovely response from him, but I have to be careful, just one nudge too many, one click of the tongue too many, and he's ready to GO! That's why its suspected he was either a barrel horse once, or a barrel horse in training.
Someone put a lot of work into him at one time. Then someone destroyed him emotionally.
I'm just trying to pick up the pieces. Its like working a jigsaw puzzle in the dark with him. You guys are helping me tremendously by handing me pieces - I just have to figure out which ones fit and which ones don't.