Horses are never going to 100% perfect 100% of the time. That's just unrealistic.
They are always a work in progress.
The things you mention sound like a normal part of owner a horse. They're going to pull a foot away from you once in a while. Red pulled his foot away while the farrier was resetting the shoe he pulled at the barrel race. He knows better. They still try things.
Shotgun would fall asleep on me every day if I let him.
They sometimes try to reach down and snatch grass when I'm getting the two of them through the gate. They know better. They still try it (that green grass is just too tempting).
Last week Shotgun was being a stinker about picking up his lope, wherein he HAD to pick up a fast trot before he loped and I didn't ask for a fast trot ( I asked for a lope). He got pretty upset when I whomped his butt a couple times to get him to lope NOW. The next day he was perfect.
Last week Red threw a small buck when we were doing slow work on the pole pattern.
Two weeks ago, Shotgun caught his halter on the corner of the trailer, got scared, and broke the tie ring (although not all the way). This is the only the 3rd time in his life he has ever pulled back.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
You can choose to "see red" and choose to think that your horse is out to get you ...... or you can accept the mind frame that horses will be horses and just deal with it when it happens. Some of them will test the waters more than others, but they all will.
A lot of it just has to do with your mental outlook on the situation.
I spoke to my instructor about it yesterday. Basically, she said that I'm expecting way too much of her and that she is one of the best behaved horses out there. So, it seems it is my mental outlook.
I think I got spooked by this forum, with all the stories of novice owners spoiling perfectly good horses with their permissiveness so I seem to have over-corrected. My instructor told me that I'm focusing on every single instance of my mare being a horse and running a tally of things that get corrected and promptly forgotten by experienced riders.
I will definitely continue to demand good manners but I think I've learned a big lesson.
On the bright side, we had a big break-through today, we cracked the 10m circle in canter which isn't too shabby for a former trail horse and a newb rider :)
Thank you all.