Looking for any and all advice!
   

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Looking for any and all advice!

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  • "horseback riding" + "power struggle"
  • Horseback riding power struggle

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    08-03-2011, 12:24 AM
  #1
Weanling
Looking for any and all advice!

Any hints or bits of advice will be greatly appreciated. I feel like I'm going backward in my riding.

I take lessons with a private trainer. I started out riding a TB and we just did not mesh. I was so nervous around her. She was constantly trying to bite and nip from the ground. This was maybe my 3rd lesson in and I asked to switch to another horse.
They put me with a total sweetheart, also a TB. My confidence soared with this horse. She was a doll and so patient with me. I had never rode in an English saddle before and was a total newb. Go to the barn one day and find out she was sold.

They put me with another horse. I adored him. Smaller paint/qh. He tested me the first day by going to middle of the ring and refused to move. I struggled a little but then, he listened to me. He tested me a little in the beginning, but within the first lesson, I had no problems. I was trotting fantastic with him. Almost up to the canter, yay! Go to the barn the next week and he's sold.

They put me with a warmblood who was a dream. Again, I learned so much with her. She tested me a little but then after a little power struggle, we were good. I was again building confidence, doing great. Find out she's sold.

All of this happened over the past 6 months.

So now I'm back with the original meanie TB. I really just don't care for this horse. Right now she is their only beginner horse. The rest are ponies or intermediate horses. So every week it's this mare now. I feel like I'm slipping backward with her. The thing is, she does listen to more advanced riders. She just does NOT listen to me at all. As mentioned, I've dealt with the initial power struggle with a horse testing you. I just can't get past the power struggle with her.
So since I'm stuck with her for now, I really need advice.

We walk fine. Once we get up to the trot, she throws her head down and goes to the center of the ring. My trainer told me when she does this, she needs more leg. I squeeze with everything I have and struggle to get her back out to the track. We try to trot again. She does the same. My trainer says to kick her with the inside leg and use the outside rein to get her back on the track. It works for a second and she moves to the track, but then refuses to trot. If I do manage to keep her on the track, she gives me a few trots and stops.
With the constant stop and go, I'm flying all over the place. Several times she stops dead in her tracks and throws her head down and I almost go flying over her head.

Then she is constantly stopping to bite at flies. She'll just stop and reach backward like she's going to bite my foot but it seems she is just going after a fly. Still, more stopping.
It's like I have to work for every single step she takes. I feel like I cannot learn anything fighting her constantly. I've had 3 other lesson horses that did not do this to me.
Is it possible that once a horse sees you as a beginner, they will always see you as a beginner and never respect you? I know this horse is capable of listening. She just doesn't listen to me. My confidence is sinking.
I really do like my trainer, but my last 3 lessons have sucked. Sometimes getting feedback from others is much more helpful. I'm hoping someone here can help. It's either deal with this mare or switch barns and until recently, I really liked this barn.
     
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    08-03-2011, 03:58 AM
  #2
Weanling
Get angry with her! Stopping is rude! Slap her with the reins, drive her on with your seat and growl at her! Even if your a beginner, she must not get lazy/cocky with you! Do what your instructor says and all of what i've put above. In your mind think:
"Right- this horse is going to trot for as long as I want her to trot!" look forward and absolutely throw your heart forward. You are going forward!
     
    08-03-2011, 03:58 AM
  #3
Weanling
Ouch. That doesn't seem like a fun situation at all.

What's happening here, whether you want to hear it or not, it sounds like your trainer is taking advantage of you, and your money. She is putting you on a horse that is obviously past your level, no matter how much of a beginner she *claims* it is. Horseback riding is supposed to be fun! Not a constant struggle.

To cover the selling thing, it happens a lot. Being in the horse industry doesn't bring much money on a consistent basis. You need to constantly be buying, training, and selling horses. It's just the way it goes, unfortunately.

Though, it is good for you to be riding all these different horses, and I'll let you know that you won't always get the perfect gentleman or lady undersaddle. You've got to learn somewhere! Whether it's on a rotten school pony or a seasoned champion, they all bring good experience. I just have a big problem with people who take advantage of others. I really suggest you find another place with more beginner horses to build your confidence and experience in a positive way, because I don't have faith in this place as a beginner-lesson-type barn.

Sorry to hear about this.
     
    08-03-2011, 04:14 AM
  #4
Weanling
As MoodIndigo is saying- your instructor is taking advantageof you, so show her you can ride that horse!
     
    08-03-2011, 08:51 AM
  #5
Weanling
I will try to make this short. I'm not critiquing you but I am wondering(as it is a common pitfall) if when you squeeze for the trot, you are balancing on or tightening the reins causing some mixed signals? My previous instructor told me a lot of people do that when learning to post a trot.

Also, I was taught horses don't get to make decisions. I would not let her go to the center of the ring. If she is going to stop I would at least make her stop in place at the rail. If she tries, I would turn her back to the rail, circle (small circle) if necessary so she is listening at least to where to stop.

And squeezing may not work. She may be the type of horse who needs to be smacked with the reins or kicked(evenly on both sides) once or twice to figure out you mean business. If squeezing doesn't work, when she goes to stop I would tap her with my heels.

What does your instructor say other than "more leg"? If that's the only advice you are getting, I might consider a different instructor
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    08-03-2011, 11:06 AM
  #6
Started
I see this from 2 sides.. First let me get this out of the way.. Yes riding a more difficult horse will help you grow.. I'm not going to tell you how to work thru it as when you lack the confidence horses know it and some will push you.. This one obviously. Ok done with that..

Now.. IMO if you are paying for the lesson then you need a horse that will help you gain confidence and grow to the point you CAN ride this type of horse. As it is, you are paying someone to mess up a horse as you cannot get the job done. Will the trainer get on and show you it can be done? Not that it means you are up to it at this point, just asking. I would ask to try one of the ?more advanced horses.. Perhaps one will work better for you than this one. IMO this horse is not a beginner rider horse. He's a "you have learned enough to work with a more difficult horse" horse. I would not be paying to "train" this horse.. First place it's not working.. Either get another horse or change trainer/barns.. I truly find over horsing someone to be very detrimental to their confidence.. IMO, this is the case.. Hope you can get some satisfaction. :)
     
    08-03-2011, 12:14 PM
  #7
Showing
You can get fly spray and spray her before the ride (to take care of flies).

But other than that... If it's no match at all and if I feel like not getting anything out of lessons, I switch. You have to learn during the lesson, not look after the horse constantly. The problem in your case, unfortunately, it's not always easy to get a beginner horse, so no wonder the barn can be very limited.
     
    08-03-2011, 12:39 PM
  #8
Weanling
Thank you so much for understanding. It is so frustrating. I started going to the barn last October, but didn't start riding until November. I did an entire month of groundwork first. I feel very confident with this horse from the ground. She doesn't try to bite me any more. I feel like she respects me totally from the ground. Once I hop on, it's a different story.
Quote:
I will try to make this short. I'm not critiquing you but I am wondering(as it is a common pitfall) if when you squeeze for the trot, you are balancing on or tightening the reins causing some mixed signals? My previous instructor told me a lot of people do that when learning to post a trot.
It's definitely possible I'm doing this. I need to pay attention and see if I'm inadvertently pulling. Because I can't get any type of fluid movement out of her, it's possible that my hands are far more busy than they should be.

I really like my trainer but I know one of the best lessons I had was with another trainer the day my trainer called in sick. It seems like a rider really benefits from different instruction rather than the same.
I'm constantly reading about how students should 1)be on a longe line 2)learn to ride without stirrups 3) learn to ride without reins
I've done none of this. Actually a month ago I asked her if I could try riding with no stirrups and we did a walk around the ring. But I had to ask.
I feel like I missed some steps that a beginner should have.


Oh and I do kick her. First she told me to try a kick with my outside leg. The horse doesn't respond so she told me to kick with both heels. I do this and it still doesn't work. The horse is totally deadened to the leg and I swear her mouth is made of rubber.
I have seen this horse cantering with another girl but the girl was intermediate, not a beginner.
I'm 39 and one of the few adults at the barn, as I'm sure is common in many barns. It seems like there are only a few adult beginners. I see mostly young girls or adults who are advanced.
Well, I'm going to definitely keep trying with this horse. She's just so tall and it makes it more intimidating.
I'll use the fly spray beforehand as well. I feel like her chomping flies is something she does because she can get away with it because I didn't see her doing that at all when the other girl was riding her. For me, she does as little as she possible can. Like, " I trotted a few steps...... happy?"

I ordered the book Centered Riding because I heard that it's a great read for beginners. I hope it's here before Friday before my next lesson.

I may have to look into switching barns though. I hate doing that but I spend $75 an hour for my lesson. Not chump change. Lesson barns are so expensive around here. I want to feel like I'm getting better each lesson with the occasional crappy lesson here and there being fine.
     
    08-03-2011, 12:52 PM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
IMO this horse is not a beginner rider horse. He's a "you have learned enough to work with a more difficult horse" horse.
That's exactly what I told my trainer. I really don't feel like she's a beginner horse. I know all horses can test you but I was able to "pass" the test with the other 3. I just can't with her.

Quote:
I would not be paying to "train" this horse..
Honestly, I feel like this too. She was new to their barn when I first started. Which now looking back, was really kind of dangerous to put a new horse with a beginner.

Quote:
I truly find over horsing someone to be very detrimental to their confidence.
Me too. And I feel overhorsed with her in every way, size and personality. If she was like the warmblood who was huge, but gentle, I'd be fine. Or if she was smaller and naughty, I think being lower to ground would calm me. But her size and her personality combined just makes for a really bad ride. I'm actually relieved to get off of her.
My trainer doesn't seem worried about it. She thinks I can work through it but this is 3 lessons already. I'm going to see how this Friday goes, and take it from there. I may have to take a break until the barn can get another beginner horse.
And I hate feeling that way. It makes me feel like such a quitter but I'm taking lessons for pleasure, not to go to Rolex, ya know? I feel like riding should be somewhat fun.
     
    08-03-2011, 02:31 PM
  #10
Yearling
I'm going to be my usual contrarian self and go with your trainer on this one. Yes you're riding for pleasure, but even a good horse can be difficult to ride in certain situations. I remember once I was cantering a horse when she suddenly pulled up because of a stone bruise. If I had never ridden horses that stop suddenly before that, I would have fallen off. What if, when you finally get to buy a horse, the seller misrepresents the horse and you suddenly find yourself riding a nutcase? What if one day the horse you're riding gets stung by a bee and freaks out?

Part of your instructor's job is to prepare you for the dangers you may encounter while riding. The best way to do that is with a horse who behaves badly but in a predictable way. Now, if you're falling off twice a lesson, then yes you're over mounted. But you absolutely should ride a horse like this one sooner or later. Learning to to anything well is never fun all of the time.
     

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