Over Horsed??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-07-2014, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Over Horsed???

I'm just getting started after a 40 year break and I am reading all the new rider stuff I can find. A reoccurring theme is new rider has a wreck because they were "over Horsed." When I was a kid I mucked stalls for a man who had a popular stallion. He boarded lots of mares and I got to exercise them which pretty much meant 20 to thirty minutes of what ever I wanted to do. If they appeared manageable I'd usually trot them bareback around the pasture. Some were well trained reigning horses that had auto transmissions power steering and power brakes. We didn't wreck. Some were lazy hard headed and convinced they were boss. They were a wreck waiting to happen. Un encumbered with stirrups I'd bail with the lead line in hand and walk them to the lunge ring for a lesson in who was boss. My point is beginner wrecks are not caused by being over Horsed. I think they are caused by being under Horsed. I think it is a dis service to tell a novice rider you wrecked because the horse was too good for you. In my limited 5 lessons I've ridden three school masters. Two were lazy. One of the lazy ones Is rebellious. In my opinion the safest only one I would take out of the arena is the quickest most athletic one who happens to be the best trained. He trots when asked first time every time. I can tell he would canter as soon as asked. When I loose my balance he slows to a walk. The instructor tells me not to let him stop on his own. I tell the instructor I think loosing my center is a good cue to stop. A good horse, the most horse, is like a juggler with a plate on a stick. Forget the reins a good well trained horse accelerates turns and stops to keep the plate, your head, on top of the stick, your body. It is a lessor horse that unloads the stick and plate, you, as quickly as possible. End of rant. Thanks for listening.
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-07-2014, 10:30 PM
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Someone is rarely said to be "overhorsed" because his horse is trained to a level beyond his ability. The phrase normally means someone who has a horse that needs training, but who doesn't have the ability, experience, facilities, expertise, etc to provide the needed training.

I feel like something of an expert on the subject, since I've been overhorsed on the same horse since I took up riding at 50. She isn't a bad horse. She isn't mean. She is much calmer now than she was a year or two ago. But she needs to be ridden a bunch of 10 hour days to get the boogers out of her mind, and my back won't hold up for much more than 1.5. It would help if I could take her out and run her silly, but the trails and even dirt roads near me have lots of gullies and lots of rocks and she isn't graceful enough to trust her to do them at speed.

So she is a sensitive, well-intentioned but spooky mare. I have neither the body nor the facilities to train the boogers out of her mind. She has improved, but she is not a trustworthy horse. She is also certainly NOT trained at a high level, nor bred at a high level (mentally...she comes from good lines physically). I am "overhorsed" with her......5 years and climbing.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-08-2014, 01:43 PM
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Re: Being "over-horsed." I think that term applies to anytime a horse is more than a rider can handle. Usually, it involves a rider whose ego outpaces his/her ability. For example:

An inexperienced rider purchases a green horse with the assumption that s/he can train the horse without the assistance of an experienced trainer. S/he doesn't have the horse-sense to read the horse properly (doesn't understand its prey-animal instincts); anthropomorphizes the horse (credits it with human emotions and thoughts that it just doesn't have); and considers the horse an equal-partner rather than a subordinate. This is a recipe for a disaster -- without a strong, swift trainer intervention.

Another example of being over-horsed might be: A timid rider purchases a "tester" horse that pushes boundaries, and the rider is unwilling/unable to become the horse's leader.

My story: I bought my mare, Sooz, because she is exceedingly well-trained and has a pretty good temperament most of the time. She was a "tester" when I bought her, and while I'm not fond of that type of horse, we've had a couple of CTJs and she understands our roles now.

I fully understand that, when it comes to horses, Sooz is smarter than I am! We take a private lesson every Tuesday so I can "catch up" to her, learn to cue her better, learn to speak her language. That's one of the ways that I show my respect for her; and in return, she has learned to respect me: She doesn't try to nip me anymore. She doesn't paw the ground in my presence. She lifts her feet when I ask. She doesn't walk off after I've mounted without being asked. (Like I said, she was a tester, when I bought her.)

Is she perfect? Nope. But we're working on it. Am I perfect? Definitely not! Nor will I ever be -- but that doesn't stop me from trying.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-08-2014, 02:12 PM
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riders frequently are over horsed. a horse that is too smart, too sensitive, too athletic or trained to the point of having specific buttons can easily be too much. So can a horse that is too dominant for its rider. A horse that can willingly and successfully pack beginners is a special type of animal, and one that willingly packs kids even more so, because it not only has to be forgiving of mistakes, not too quiet nor too hot, not too sensitive but also has to be sensitive enough to respond to light cues.

some examples. I know someone that is a very talented rider. Very good seat, many miles on various horses. However, this person is not a dominant person at all, and can be some what nervous. Put this rider on a assertive, green or nervous horse and its a disaster waiting to happen. I can ride horses this rider cannot, despite them having many more hours of professional instruction and a lot more technical knowledge.

Also consider someone with physical limitations, like someone with slower reaction time, poor balance, not in very good shape, elderly or perhaps carrying extra weight that hinders their athletic ability. A quick, responsive horse, however nice and well trained, would be the wrong horse for any of these people. They could be said to be 'over horsed'.

Also, if you are naturally a person who is not very assertive, riding an assertive, top of the herd type horse is not going to be fun for either party. My favorite mare right now is assertive and forward, and while I love her(basically the horse version of myself), she scares the living daylight out of most other people that get on her.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-09-2014, 05:55 PM
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I'm 'overhorsed' currently with a very well-trained, older horse who has had a whole showing career as an eventer and hunter/jumper. His training is part of what caused the issues (which I'm working through with my trainer). An example is that my two- point position is not that strong, and when I canter him I sometimes fall forward. He takes this as 'go faster' from his jumper training. So, I'm working on my canter and two-point on a school horse.

I had the opportunity to watch a very experienced eventer ride my horse the other day, and she was able to get him to show all of his training. So, I'm not 'underhorsed' due to a lack of training, rather my riding skills are currently such that in asking for things incorrectly.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-09-2014, 07:29 PM
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A beginner wreck doesn't necessarily occur because a horse is too GOOD for a beginner, but that it's too much for them to handle. Too sensitive, too green, too spooky, too dominant. Falling off happens, and injuries happen. You're much less likely to fall off or get injured on a horse that is within your abilities to handle. Riding something somewhat above your ability pushes you a little, but take it too far and you will inevitably run into a problem.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-13-2014, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the great comments. I've only ridden a few times lately. When a kid I always would rather have a horse that needed reigning in than spuring. Now I have no sense of balance, no legs and no endurance in my core, and I find I'd still rather have a horse with a lot of forward motion. I do not want one that will try to rub me off on a tree or roll on me. I'm not as quick as I use to be. I guess I just think un trained, pushy, testy and down right mean are better, more accurate than over Horsed.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-13-2014, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Someone is rarely said to be "overhorsed" because his horse is trained to a level beyond his ability. The phrase normally means someone who has a horse that needs training, but who doesn't have the ability, experience, facilities, expertise, etc to provide the needed training.

I feel like something of an expert on the subject, since I've been overhorsed on the same horse since I took up riding at 50. She isn't a bad horse. She isn't mean. She is much calmer now than she was a year or two ago. But she needs to be ridden a bunch of 10 hour days to get the boogers out of her mind, and my back won't hold up for much more than 1.5. It would help if I could take her out and run her silly, but the trails and even dirt roads near me have lots of gullies and lots of rocks and she isn't graceful enough to trust her to do them at speed.

So she is a sensitive, well-intentioned but spooky mare. I have neither the body nor the facilities to train the boogers out of her mind. She has improved, but she is not a trustworthy horse. She is also certainly NOT trained at a high level, nor bred at a high level (mentally...she comes from good lines physically). I am "overhorsed" with her......5 years and climbing.
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-13-2014, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Have you tried what the current trainers call sacking her out?
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-13-2014, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailTraveler View Post
Re: Being "over-horsed." I think that term applies to anytime a horse is more than a rider can handle. Usually, it involves a rider whose ego outpaces his/her ability. For example:

An inexperienced rider purchases a green horse with the assumption that s/he can train the horse without the assistance of an experienced trainer. S/he doesn't have the horse-sense to read the horse properly (doesn't understand its prey-animal instincts); anthropomorphizes the horse (credits it with human emotions and thoughts that it just doesn't have); and considers the horse an equal-partner rather than a subordinate. This is a recipe for a disaster -- without a strong, swift trainer intervention.
CTJ. I like that. My experience as a kid was the CTJ happened best in The ring with my feet on the ground
Another example of being over-horsed might be: A timid rider purchases a "tester" horse that pushes boundaries, and the rider is unwilling/unable to become the horse's leader.

My story: I bought my mare, Sooz, because she is exceedingly well-trained and has a pretty good temperament most of the time. She was a "tester" when I bought her, and while I'm not fond of that type of horse, we've had a couple of CTJs and she understands our roles now.

I fully understand that, when it comes to horses, Sooz is smarter than I am! We take a private lesson every Tuesday so I can "catch up" to her, learn to cue her better, learn to speak her language. That's one of the ways that I show my respect for her; and in return, she has learned to respect me: She doesn't try to nip me anymore. She doesn't paw the ground in my presence. She lifts her feet when I ask. She doesn't walk off after I've mounted without being asked. (Like I said, she was a tester, when I bought her.)

Is she perfect? Nope. But we're working on it. Am I perfect? Definitely not! Nor will I ever be -- but that doesn't stop me from trying.
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