It must have been about this time that Starr developed a nasty habit of gate crashing. He knew it was much more fun in the paddock with his mates, and he knew that gates were how to get there. When I schooled him in the training arena, he would be as good as gold all the way around it, until we went past the gate. Then he would head for it with all the determination of a mule, ignoring my hauling on the reins. The rubber snaffle was way too soft, apparently.
So, he would arrive at the closed gate and, since he couldn't open it, would wait for me to get off and do it for him, which, of course, I didn't. Eventually my rein tugging and cursing would get through to him, and he'd reluctantly leave the gate for one more lap around the training arena, or so he thought. Of course, this was rather annoying, to say the least, not to mention embarrassing, and I was determined to teach him the error of his ways.
Once he set his sights on the gate, however, no amount of hauling on the reins would turn him from his purpose until he reached it. Needless to say, there were spectators, and eventually my attempts to control my wayward horse became too much for one bystander. So out he stepped and shouted that he was going to report me to the SPCA for pulling on my horse's mouth. By that time, Starr had reached the gate and stopped, waiting for me to get off and open it.
I stared at the man, flabberghasted. I wasn't supposed to pull on the reins? How was I going to control my horse, then? Was I supposed to sit on him in front of the gate all day? Perhaps I should just let him go back to the paddock and give up all notion of ever riding him? Apparently, in his opinion, that's what I should have done, because inflicting my will upon my poor stubborn horse was just too much! Of course, being only seventeen, I said none of these things, but managed to persuade Starr - who by that time had realised I wasn't going to open the gate for him - to take me back to the far side of the training arena, where I stayed for the rest of the day.
Needless to say, I eventually cured Starr of his gate crashing habit, when he realised that his tactics just weren't going to work and I was just as stubborn as he was. I also upgraded his bit to a soft snaffle. Basically, the problem was the rubber bar snaffle was just too soft to make an impression on my strong willed horse.