.....we stopped training the mighty Jack. He will not be ready for the wagon train. It comes down to attitude and that there is a point to give up on them and spend the time more wisely. I thought this spring we would get through the distrust and be able to start having fun with him, but it doesn't look that way.
When we got him he would just as soon try to climb the fence as look at me. Now I can catch him about anywhere, if I take my time and let him think a moment he will come to me and say its ok, catch me now. He puts his head down to make it easy. He is snatchy with treats so I do not feed him many by hand. It is like he thinks we will jerk them away if he doesn't grab them fast. You can pet, brush, and curry every inch of his body. I have braided his mane and tail. We have sat under him scratching his legs and picking ticks off of him. He will pick his feet up and generally stand good while they are trimmed. Which they need again. He loads in the trailer better then most horses. He stands stock still for the harness to be pushed/pulled/dragged on to his huge frame. He lowers his head and takes the bit. He stands like a statue while we hook him up and adjust and pull what ever up to him and rattle chains talk, laugh, get on and off the cart or what ever, spit, cough, sneeze, trip and stomp around in our heavy mud boots. Then it all goes to heck when we start moving. First we had him hooked with our old percheron mare and he went back and forth and sideways but we got around the field. Unfortunately she died last summer. We have hooked him by himself to a forecart with a bridge plank behind it. It is one we can both ride on. We finally put a running w on him so I did not have to drag on his mouth so much. He respects that and we have never had to take his feet away. BUT he just gets in better shape and does not start thinking. We will be going along and one of us will say something and he is off. Or we will be talking and one of us will laugh and he is off. It was bad when I had a cough and we would be off and I would keep coughing! We tried him without blinders but it was MUCH worse. He has a phobia about things behind him. So I am failing with him and I feel bad about it. I needed more work for him to do. If you know of someone that could put him in a hitch and work him for a summer he might get over it. I have stood on the water tank and leaned on his back, he doesn't worry about that. He leads like a balloon and ties well. He will pull back if life in front of him gets real scary like me playing with a mule that starts jumping around. We have lead him with the pu and lots by foot. He is willing to follow.
That is Jack's story. Jack will be ready to go and you will like being around him he is truly a gentle giant albeit a distrusting one. You can hook him up and you can hold him by his mouth. We will do it here. He is not fun to drive nor relaxing at all. He has a distrust and feels he must protect himself. You can be leading him with his harness on and he will brush the harness against something and zip he shoots past you to escape the horrible beast that is attacking. He hits the end of the rope and zips back by the other way. Then you have to calm the big goof and assure him you are there and have not been eaten so life can go on.
His legs (CPL) are not so bad that you can see it unless I clip them. And mentally he is fine - great pet or you might be able to ride him with no trouble. I just cannot get him to settle down with something behind him and to be fun or safe to drive.