Horse mind reading? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Horse mind reading?

A little background: I am an adult who has recently re-entered the saddle after 25+ years. My two children and I have been taking lessons with one of the few ARIA riding instructors in our rural area. We have been riding bareback on her lesson horses in a round pen to get a feel for our balance, and to work on controlling the horses. My goal for the kids and me to gain enough confidence and skill to safely go on trail rides in the lovely country around our home.

Our instructor recently took us on our first trail ride, along with another mother and her two children, and the instructor's teenaged daughter. After a long trip, in which the trailer required some repair work with the horses in it, we arrived at the destination. I noticed that the horse that I have been using, and was to ride that day, seemed quite agitated, and was rubbing against, sometimes climbing the trailer she was tied to. She also attempted to roll several times. This behavior continued after she was tacked up. I asked my instructor if she was likely to try to roll when I mounted her, and she replied that the horse would only roll if I thought about her rolling (?) and that she was just irritated by flies. I did some deep breathing, and mounted the horse (stupid!), only to have her roll almost immediately. I did a superman jump off her back, and luckily escaped with only scrapes and bruises. I was immediately scolded and told that this was my fault due to worrying about rolling prior to mounting. She had me remount, and had to smack the horse to keep it from rolling again. I switched horses with her daughter, a much more experienced rider, and the horse tried to roll with her too. I was then told that I had taught the horse a bad habit because it succeeded in rolling with me on its back. I replied that I would happily have stopped it if I had known how! I was able to successfully ride the other horse during the trail ride, even though it was considered an "intermediate" horse, and I am a beginner.

My question after this long story is: Did my nervousness about rolling cause the horse to roll? I would not have thought about it if I hadn't seen the horse's agitation prior to the ride. I am not sure if I want to climb back on a horse if this is the case, because I am sure to be at least a little nervous after this experience! Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 02:30 AM
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Oh gosh no. It wasn't your fault at all. D: My thought is that something was bothering your horse to be itchy and wanting to roll in order to itch it since he had never done it before. Maybe it was an allergic reaction to a bug biting it and your instructor should ob brought along some fly spray if the horse throws a fit with flies.

Your instructor was not fair by blaming it on you. It was not your fault and they handled it inappropriately.
Due to liability, I was surprised they weren't more worried about your safety then the horse having a bad habit. Please don't blame yourself.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 02:33 AM
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Judging by that information I think you need a new instructor. She really sounds like she doesn't have a clue.

The correct thing for her to do would be to have determined WHAT was irritating the horse. Lord, there was obviously something wrong there. If she was trying to roll I wouldn't even be surprised if the horse was colicking, or had something under the saddle pad irritating it, or something potentially dangerous like that.


Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 02:37 AM
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Have you considered trying other instructors?
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 02:49 AM
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A horse has absolutely zero clue if you are thinking about a specific behavior.

Now a nervous rider can cause a horse to be nervous but that is because the horse senses it through the rider's body language. So if I get myself all worked up because I am convinced that my horse is going to spook at a specific object, he probably will because my body language is busy telling him that the object is really a scary monster. Nervous horses do not roll with their rider, spooking, jumping, ducking, bolting, etc.... is what a nervous, upset horse does, they are trying to get away from whatever is scaring them, they don't try and roll on it!

You thinking that a horse might roll with a rider and then it doing so was NOT caused by your thinking. You assessed the situation correctly, horse had some sort of bug, itchy or whatever problem and wanted to roll in an attempt to correct it and any competent trainer would have assessed the problem and attempted to correct it, not dismissed it and certainly not have told you to get on and then blamed you!

I'd be looking for a new trainer.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 03:55 AM
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that instructor gets a big fat NEEEEEXT! from me, that is ridiculous.

As much as I would love for horses to do what I was thinking, they don't. (Though it would make it sooooo much easier!)

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 05:45 AM
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I agree with Sorrelhorse, it could have been colic. Horses roll to repostition the intestines, altho they may not know that, but it can offer relief. Because it is so long and is basically floating, rolling can also help with releasing a gut that is twisting. This can be fatal. The issue likely began in the trailer where it wasn't seen. When it was tied to the trailer that was the first visible clue that something was amiss.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies! I hope it wasn't colic. The horse did settle down after a while (about 30 minutes) with the firmer, more experienced hand of the next rider, so it probably wasn't. I just felt silly about the whole situation, number one because I thought I caused it with my concern and nervousness, and number two because I didn't trust my instincts and refuse to mount that horse despite what the trainer said (She has never thrown/rolled a rider, It's the flies and will get better after we begin to ride, etc). I don't know very much about horses, and what I know was told to me by my trainer, who is typically very safety conscious. I will use my own eyes, ears, and "gut feelings" from now on!
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 07:58 AM
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No, that was NOT your fault. Something was bothering the horse, so it tried it. And since it tried it on both of you, most likely the particular horse did it in past too (and most probably successfully).

My paint tried to pull it on me once several years ago (just stopped and went down to roll because of the flies and her being sweaty). Good smack on butt to get her up, getting back to the saddle, and making her work hard cured that "issue".

I agree with other posters: I'd look into new instructor.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 08:22 AM
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Wow, just wow. I'm with others, look into finding a new instructor. One of my students had her gelding go down to roll on her here awhile back. Her older sister worked him at home for a few (they had been at their dads house for 6 weeks so horses were very fresh) and left him tacked, tossed him in the stock trailer and came here. He was still a little sweaty and having hard clay at home, the loose sand in my arena was very appealing. He had a little rider on him and knew he could get away with it so he did. I'm screaming bail as soon as I saw his wheels turning and she did get off & away with time to spare. He ended up staying with me for a couple weeks so I could put him in the same situation and show him the light ;)

I can only imagine what her stepdad would have said to me if I had told her she told him to roll via telepathy. No doubt there would be a rumor spreading like wild fire that I was the woo woo crazy lady.
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