Thank you all SO much for the replies, I really appreciate it!
First off, just to clarify, he is NOT an OTTB.
My first thought was initially pain or saddle fit. So I tried several different saddles- no change in behavior. My saddle fits him really good when standing, except for the tree is wide and he needs a medium, so I’m using a half pad until I can find a saddle with a medium tree, but everything else fits him fine.
He did throw his hip out pretty badly for quite a while before I caught on, so we got the chiropractor out to adjust it and while he’s moving much better, no change in behavior. The previous owner did say that he had a sore back when she first started riding and training him because he hadn’t been ridden before, but that it went away. Does this generally happen or is it something to be concerned about?
So I guess I should probably have the vet out to do a full exam for ulcers and anything else, correct?
I guess I’ll just keep working at it, then, and doing what I’ve been doing. I am noticing a few flaws in how I was going about it though so I’ll fix those and see if that makes any difference. I don’t think I’m catching him quick enough, I wait until he gets to the corner to make him work, but I need to do it the second he starts showing signs of even thinking of pushing me over there. I do often forget that he is so young, because he honestly doesn’t act like it the majority of the time, but he is a very dominant and stubborn horse, and his previous owner never making him work I do think might be a big factor in all of this…
I did read somewhere that working him in his pen would make him realize, hey, it’s not any better in there so I might as well stay in here and do what she asks which is easier, might work? I don’t know about this, though…
kim_schmittendorf- I agree! I’ve been putting SO much pressure on myself to train myself and my horse up to a high level of competition, because the dream was always to compete professionally, that I wasn’t really enjoying riding anymore because I was pressuring myself so much, and in turn I was projecting that onto Cowboy. I have recently decided to screw the competitive life and pursue a career as a horse trainer. Even though he frustrates the crap out of me, training Cowboy has been more fulfilling than anything, and I’ve realized it doesn’t matter what discipline I do, as long as he’s happy, I’m happy, and seeing him progress (not with this issue, but with other things) has been amazing. It is great what taking the pressure off can do for your relationship with your horse and your own stress levels!