Not really, it's more the other way around! I've just listened to what he's told me, encouraged him without pushing, and given him the job and love that he deserves and asks for. The little horse I go see every day is a far cry from the one I bought last year. He actually comes to the paddock gate to ask for affection now, and is genuinely happy to go working whether it's a free lunge, ground drive, ride, or regular lunge day, or if we're just going for a hand walk around the neighborhood.
I think that a lot of people in the horse world, at least here on the island, are TOO goal-oriented, and lose sight of the big picture in the process, and that's to enjoy the time we have with our four-legged partners, because they're not around forever. Doing things his way is going to let us have MANY more years together, and whatever happens happens. He really is a sweet little guy once you get to know him, so it breaks my heart to think of the things that people did to him becase they thought he was dangerous. Even if he DOES have a freakout, he gets as far out of your space as possible first, so even when he's having an extra anxious day, I feel safer on the ground with him than I do with the BO's schoolmaster <3 I may be volunteering our time once a week to use him for equine-assisted therapy for some of the guys my dad works with (he's a peer support worker for veterans with PTSD and related issues) since the local therapeutic riding assn won't even give him the time of day, let alone try to help give him contacts to start and actual Horses for Heroes program..
I once saw someone beat the snot out of a green horse that bucked them off every time it bucked them off. So the horse stopped bucking but every time the rider tried to get off the horse took off because he was anticipating being beat from the ground.
I think you will find that every time you dismount and nothing bad happens he will get better.
I dealt with ahorse that would run backwards as soon as you put a foot in the stirrup. Apparently he did it once on accident and his rider fell off and couldn't get back on. Being a lazy beast it worked to his advantage and gave his rider a complex who, not wanting to hit the ground again, would stop mounting as soon as he ran backwards. It took several sessions of me hanging off the side of him and he ran backwards around the arena but he hasn't done it in years.
It takes someone with good balance and body control but it can be fixed.
I have also had several horses start to sweat or tremble when someone p ut a saddle on due to a bad experience. I would suggest saddling him, tying the stirrups under his belly, and running your lines through them. That way he changes his association.
Vet found nothing in the xrays but found some really tight muscles around his jugular. She says it's likely from him overcompensating for some soreness after he reared and flipped himself over a couple weeks ago. His back is looking good, moving sound, he's muscling up nicely (finally!). She worked some of the tightness out of his neck/throat and gave me the name of the massage therapist she has work on her personal horse (who she shows in the jumpers) and suggested I get her out weekly for the next month (or less if she fixes it in fewer sessions) to get the tightness out and hopefully that'll help. So he has another massage booked for Friday.
Yesterday's session with the reiki lady was interesting. Java's clearly NOT an energy work type pony. He had a huge meltdown, which was really weird. This is the second person he's done that with in his lifetime, the first one was a "medicine horse"/"mare speak"/horse whisperer woman who went out when his original owner was trying to get rid of him. Not sure what happened, but I hear that the energy work session with her is what led to him being impossible to catch/get near and led to him being sold to the woman I got him from for $1. Then yesterday, he almost flipped himself over in the crossties when the woman (a different one than his session years ago) brought out some aromatherapy stuff. She reacted by yelling/shanking him with the lead, at which point I told her to leave.