Helping others learn to ride? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Little Mare
  • 2 Post By Fulford15
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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Helping others learn to ride?

Hello everyone, I was wondering if there is any instructors or anyone else who has experience giving lessons.

Here is the situation: My mom after being away from horses for a long time decided she would like to get back into it this summer. After several months of looking and trying out several horses I found her a calm quiet older, confidence-builder, gelding that I felt was a perfect match for her, Gus.

And for the most part he is especially on the trail. However, in the arena Gus can be very stubborn with her. He likes to get stuck at the gate and she has trouble getting him away. Sometimes he will trot over to another horse and won't respond to her cues. For example she wants to go straight and he will want to go left... and he wins. He does not prance, toss his head, or other wise act scary.

Now when I get on him he is perfect. I never have any of these troubles he responds to me and is respectful. I know that this is partly because of my confidence, leg cues, body language etc. Sometimes I ride him for 30 min or so before my mom and that sometimes helps.

So my question is how can I help my mom? I know each time Gus gets away with this behavior it only gets worse. I have reminded her to focus her whole body not just her reins and I have tried to get her to use her legs more. One other thing I do is have her try to focus on a spot in the arena (a cone for example) and focus her body and attention on that spot, if she has to ride past the gate (which she knows Gus will have issues with) I tell her not to focus on the gate or even look at it because her worry over the gate will make it more likely that he will go over to it.

I have discovered that knowing what to do and doing it... and then being able to convey to someone else what to do are two completely different things!

And a picture of Gus with his green fly-mask just for fun!
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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She needs lessons, AND you should work with Gus every time before she rides. I taught for 10 years. Even great lesson horses, which mine were, know a pushover rider. He sounds like a good guy, just typical lazy horse.
Make sure that she takes lessons with an instructor who works with beginners AND with people honing their skills to show.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 12:08 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I would guess you mom is quite unsure of herself. Horses pick up on our emotions very easily. A nervous rider can cause a nervous horse. A tense rider can cause a tense horse. A scared rider can cause a scared horse, and so on. Some horses will take advantage of those situations like Gus is. He knows you are confident and behaves or listens. He knows your mom lacks confidence and can get away with things.

My first suggestion would be for your mom to work him on the ground. She needs to learn how to use as little force or pressure as possible but to increase to as much as necessary. She needs to learn how to be firm when he doesn't listen.

Once she has that on the ground, she can transfer that to riding. Have her bring a crop with her. If he won't move, like at the gate, turn his head and pop him on his rear. If he wants to turn left instead of going straight, let him but make him move in several tight circles. She needs to learn how to make him uncomfortable when he does what he wants instead of what she wants. As her confidence and experience grow, he will get better.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Gus is very cute!

If you can, I would try to find an instructor - even if you go 2x a month, she'll be given some "homework" and they can give you instruction on how to help her.

I agree with having your mother do some groundwork, re-learning how she can be the boss and get the respect she deserves.

Good luck! :)
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Gus has your mom's "number". He knows he will not be able to get away with this behavior with you, but he can with your mom!

I would get your mom to work in the areas on the ring he has problems on and make him move, like posted above use a crop and get her to be boss.
Ground work is essential, have her work on that as well to gain respect from Gus.

Funny, the same thing happened when my Boyfriend got on my friends horse, would buck him off, run off, ignore him. But when I got on, there were no problems at all.
Horses know if someone is inexperienced and some will try anything to get your number!
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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Thanks for the advise everyone. :)

I should have been more specific. I know what the problem is. ie Gus knows that she is a "pushover." I was looking more for specific language to help me communicate or things you found helpful. Luckily she isn't fearful but she has been out of the saddle for a while.

We do several hours of ground work each week. From the first week she got him until know has been a huge improvement. At first he was dragging her all over the place trying to snack on weeds but now he walks down the road and minds her really well. I have told her that everything she want to be able to do in the saddle she needs to be able to do from the ground and we been working on it.

I will try having her ride with a crop I think that might do the trick maybe even for just a few weeks. I think lessons from a "professional" would be good but she is very shy with other people and would be to embarrassed. So right now we just enjoy the horses together!
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-27-2013, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Do the groundwork with your mom riding. I found, in hindsight, that ME working my horses during the lessons and not letting them disregard correct cues, made my horses the totally bombproof animals that they became.
Just don't keep Gus on a lunge, just tack up as usual, and Direct Gus from the ground while you teach your mom the cues. I STILL want to hear that your mom is taking lessons on school horses, which Gus is not.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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