Nothing is being done mindlessly, I assure you. Ground work is consistent. Lunging before riding. We are thinking about putting in a round pen.
Ground work is not about "lunging". You don't need a round pen to do ground work.
Tell me this: When you (or your husband) are handling your horse on the ground, and you take a strong step toward your horse's hindquarters while "glaring" with your upper body .... what does your horse do?
Do they just stand there?
Did they not notice what you just did?
I'll tell you what my horses do: They move their hindquarters away from me. Because that's what my body language is telling them. And because that is how I have trained them.
They know that when I am around them, they are to pay attention to me and respect me. They have learned, through training, that this is the correct response. They know that when I apply pressure, they need to give me the desired response in order to get their reward (release of pressure).
Can you move your horse's body with only your body language? If not, then that is something you can work toward. Not necessarily before you go riding, but this is something that I would work on a for a few weeks with NO riding. Earn their respect from the ground first.
This is the same process you take with colt starting. You teach them to respect you on the ground FIRST before you mount up.
That's what I was talking about when I said some ground work would do you good. But TIMING is important with ground work and with riding. Which is where you should continue your lessons with your trainer. Or if your trainer does not do ground work (not all of them do), then find someone who does.