Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
Like everyone has said, it really just depends on the horse. A lot of people try to label horses by their breed, or age, or size- but really it's all about personality. You want a lesson horse to be forgiving and soft mouthed, but at the same time- you don't want them to be push button. I want my riders to have to use their aids right to get a response from a horse, but I don't want the horse bolting off if the kid accidently kicks too hard, or rearing if they pull back a bit too tight. The horse must genuinely enjoy his job. Many horses tend to get frustrated if their rider is confusing.
With our lesson horses, we don't just train them to a certain level and then toss them into the program- never to be schooled again unless they develope a bad habit. IME, a learning horse is happy horse. Engaging their minds with new things helps break the monotony of their job as a lesson horse, and it keeps them sharp and in tune for their riders, no matter what their experience level is.
We have horses of all ages in our program. We have a seven year old arabian who was put into the program at age five- after only two years of riding under her girth, and she's never once offered to put her riders in danger. We alternate her between beginners and intermediate riders, simply because she tends to get lazy and sometimes needs that extra 'push' from more experienced riders. Almost all of our beginners start on her though, because she is extremely forgiving and really just loves to be out there with the kids....as long as they aren't going faster than a trot ;)
At the same time we have a 28 year old mare, Puddin' who was a working ranch horse back in her day. She's very set in her ways, and will sometimes act up (crow hopping, 'spooking', and refusing to move) when asked to do something out of the ordinary- making her only suitable for our riders that are confident with neck reining, and can easily sit a walk, trot, and a canter.
We also have two OTTBs that are about the same age who are in our program, but they are completely opposite. While one is laid back and would do anything for anyone- the other is feisty and is always testing her rider. You just have to go by the animals attitude, and see where they fit. Some horses just aren't made for lessons, and that's ok.
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.