We all accept that it’s quite rare (virtually impossible) to find the perfect horse. If they don’t have a physical issue, it is more than likely that they will have a behavioural issue of some sort. This is just something that horse owners accept when searching for their ‘prefect’ horse. But I have found that the majority of horse owners would rank Ridden or Ground manners over the other.
You have the people who would rather Kite Fly their horse to the field in the morning than sit on anything which might be better suited at a rodeo and vice versa. Both sides have very good reasons for this.
The best reason for preferring something what is naughty on the ground but good to ride is that you can’t get throw off or galloped off with. If things get too much you can just let go and run!
On the other hand, being on top of the horse, you have a lot more control and can do more to direct the horse and potentially stop the behaviour. You are also less likely to get kicked and/or trampled as you would have to be thrown off first!
So you can see both sides. I personally have a real issue with horses having bad manners, so I would nearly always choose a horse who is more difficult under saddle than on the ground. My reasons are 1) I am half asleep most morning when I turn out, I don’t really want to be on the look out for stray legs, rouge teeth or be bracing myself in case they decide to tank off! 2) I like horses 16h+, if they start to mess around there is very little you can do from the ground and it’s very easy to get knocked flying and/or stood on. That said, I don’t want to get on anything dangerous to ride. But I am happier riding something a bit bouncy and spritely than leading the horse with the same behaviour.
Do you have a preference for ground manners or ridden manners?