This is my first post, indeed my reason for joining the forum, and I'd be really thankful if you all might weigh in and give me some pointers!
A few months back, I purchased my horse, Chah, my first, and so far it has been a really wonderful experience (more or less...). We've been on plenty of long rides through the mountains here, and I simply love spending time with him at the stables, in pasture, etc just being around him. My suit sleeves are currently covered in slobber and dust as I write this. I've been doing TONS of reading, research, and tallking to other riders and owners to try and be as good of an owner, teacher, and leader to him as possible.
Despite a really great start between us, over the past month or so, Chah is becoming gradually more "aggressive" and "dominant" towards me. At first he was a real peach, but more and more, he exhibits signs of rebellion and anger towards me, and other horses. He is by no means dangerous or vicious, but I blame myself, and I want to fix this behavior ASAP. He's clearly testing me, but perhaps I am responding wrong. Examples:
-Mounting: He REFUSES to stand still. Won't do it, never has. Takes me 5-10 minutes to get on, and when I do, he backs up, goes forward, turns around, and is generally agitated by my presence. Even though he's a harness racer, he's always been ridden saddle, and other riders who know him tell me this is strange.
-Trail Riding: At first, perfect trail riding, calm, collected. Now, he randomly bucks, lifts a leg, crabs, and kicks out at the other horses (whom he lives with) on trail. It can get quite scary, especially whilst along cliffs and rivers on a narrow path...I've checked his tack (all new), fitting, burrs, etc, but can't see why he's so bent out of shape. He also tries to bite my legs when we stop, only he can't reach
-Stables: Perhaps the least important, but he is becoming more and more aggressive towards me. He used to like being petted (never really enjoyed grooming much), but now he is ears pinned all the time around me, unless I have food. And when the food's gone, ears back down. He nips sometimes, but passively.
Sorry for the long post...overall, I still think he's a great horse. Even on his worst day, he's still more-or-less manageable and never outright mean or vicious. Sometimes I think many of these things might be due to his history as a racing horse, competitive nature, the very special commands/training he's learned, and lack of intimacy with humans he's certainly experienced.
What worries me is just that things are getting progressively WORSE all the time...I'd appreicate any thoughts on how to improve this!