Which direction should I go?
 
 

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Which direction should I go?

This is a discussion on Which direction should I go? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • My horse only wants to go one direction

 
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    09-17-2012, 11:29 AM
  #1
Started
Which direction should I go?

I'm afraid this post is likely going to be a bit long... sorry!

I started riding when I was 10 and shortly thereafter I got my first pony. I was a fairly fearless rider right from the start.

When I was 16, I got my QH gelding, Cody. He was green and so was I, but somehow we (eventually) figured it out.

For a couple of years, I worked for my friend at her riding stable. I guided trail rides and trained new/young horses.

Somewhere along the lines, I had an accident with Cody, where he ran away with me and ended up galloping on a blacktopped road, up and down hills, on the wrong side of the road. He passed right by our driveway and ended up running for a mile or so before I finally just bailed off him. I didn't get hurt terribly bad, just bruised and scraped and a concussion from the blacktop (no helmet, BAD rider!).

It wasn't an immediate thing, but my confidence was shaken and gradually things got worse and worse. I didn't stop riding at that point, and my fear wasn't at it's worst at that point.... but as the years passed and I realized I was indeed breakable, I started riding less and less.

I got married and had a baby; he is now 16 months old. Even though I am super happy with my family, I feel like there's something missing in my life and really want to get back into riding again.

I initially got all gung ho and decided I was going to get a dressage horse and go in a completely different direction (I've always ridden Western). I even looked into OTTBs (probably NOT a good idea for a rider that's having minor confidence issues).

More recently, I've been thinking of getting Cody back into riding shape. He's only 22, but just yesterday I discovered there's something wrong with him... likely arthritis (going to get a vet out to check). I had initially decided to go English with him, but he really is a Western horse. Plus, I figured I might feel more secure in a Western saddle. Regardless, it seems like that option is out due to his health.

I am getting two young ponies I'll be working with and training, but obviously I won't be riding them because they're too small for me. I think this will really help my "horse withdrawal" but won't satisfy my urge to ride again.

I'm starting lessons with a good all around instructor tonight. She primarily does dressage and jumping but also teaches Western. I'm going to be taking English/Dressage lessons and seeing how I like that.

I still have the urge to get my own horse and keep it at my parents' with the others (the retired horses, my SIL's gelding, and my ponies). I am thinking I should probably try to hold off and see how the riding lessons go, though.

It's not that I was terribly afraid and didn't enjoy riding. It's just a bit of unease, and only on the trail. When I'm in an arena, I feel much more secure. It's not really the falling off that I'm afraid of, it's the uncontrolled running away.

I actually haven't ridden at all in 3-4 years. Tonight will be my first time in the saddle. I also have plans to go to my friend's place and trail ride (she doesn't have a public trail riding facility anymore, just rides for fun). Somehow, I never felt afraid on her trails. They're all wooded and we mostly just walk and trot. I even used to go horse camping and LOVED it... always riding very steady mounts (though still spirited, not runaways). At my parents' place, however, we can either ride on the road or go through a large field to get to the trails. The trails are NOT used very frequently and there are a lot of bear, dear, wolves, and even possibly a cougar. THAT is really one of my biggest fears: encountering a cougar, wolf or bear on the trail that will spook my horse.

If I decide to look for a horse, I'm thinking I should NOT go for my "dream horse" of a tall TB or sporthorse. Instead, I should probably go with what I know: a well broke QH type to just ride for fun in the arena, on the trail, and at a few local shows. I figure I could stick with primarily Western, with perhaps some English in the arena for fun.

I've been browsing CL and found a few possibilities. Again, I'm going to wait to see how the lessons go to decide for sure but it's still fun to look. Here's what I came up with:

1) Probably my first choice... just sounds like what I'm looking for. A calm, steady mount that I can do all sorts of things with: Western, English, gaming (just for fun), trails, etc.: 7 year old All Around Quarter Horse

2) Sounds calm and steady, yet a bit different than what I'm used to which could be fun: Horse well broke

3) Perhaps a bit less suitable but has a good price, is local, and has the potential to be a good horse: Beautiful Gelding QH

4) My heart speaking, not my head.... he looks like he could be a handful: black beauty gelding for sale
     
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    09-17-2012, 11:42 AM
  #2
Trained
Definitely hold off until you find the riding style you want to pursue and level you want to pursue it with. You may end up loving Dressage and wanting to compete, in which case you'll enjoy a more Dressage oriented horse than an all arounder.

As for trails, an arena horse can learn. As for wild life you can learn. Once you get going see if there's trail riding places near you. You might be able to hire a guide for a couple of hours to take you out and teach you how to spot signs of local wildlife and the best way to respond to the different critters.

For what it's worth, my horse used to be an arena only horse and now absolutely loves hitting the trails. We go alone usually and we've encountered wildlife but I know how to deal with what is in our area.
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    09-17-2012, 11:43 AM
  #3
Yearling
Sounds like you got off lucky with your fall, could have been really nasty. It's precisely why I've only ever ridden once without a helmet, even if I do look silly.

The first horse seems to give more information about the horses' life than about the horse itself, but it definitely could be worth finding out some more.

The Morgan sounds perfect for me! But I guess he could be okay for you too... If you're really wanting to get your confidence back, he sounds best.

The third one sounds like a bit of work which you might not need what with the ponies and such.

Mr Black Beauty is definitely a heart horse.


I think the Morgan would be the best one to chase up, just to get you back on the trails and help you calm your fears.

But most of all, good luck with your ride tonight!
     
    09-17-2012, 12:04 PM
  #4
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
Definitely hold off until you find the riding style you want to pursue and level you want to pursue it with. You may end up loving Dressage and wanting to compete, in which case you'll enjoy a more Dressage oriented horse than an all arounder.
Definitely good advice! The thing is... it's going to be several years before I can afford to get any real "competition" horse. We don't currently own a truck and trailer and if I get a show horse, I'd want to keep him closer to me, at a show barn. Of course that comes with board bills, training bills, etc.

If I get a horse just to ride for fun, I can keep him at my parents' house. We have free board and free hay. The only expenses are tack, grain, farrier, and vet (which can obviously be super expensive but we have good emergency plans).

Quote:
As for trails, an arena horse can learn. As for wild life you can learn. Once you get going see if there's trail riding places near you. You might be able to hire a guide for a couple of hours to take you out and teach you how to spot signs of local wildlife and the best way to respond to the different critters.
I have lived in the country my whole life and do know a bit about wildlife. By my parents' house, the trails go back deep in the woods onto the reservation. There is just miles of wilderness. I know for a fact there are coyotes, wolves, bear, and deer. I just get a sort of "uneasy" feeling when I ride back there.

The road ride is actually a bit better. Aside from one stretch of blacktop, it's all dirt road, and most of it is closed to car traffic (there is the occasional 4-wheeler, though). It's only a couple of miles to the fairgrounds and a nice big arena. So, basically what I would be doing would be riding at home in the arena most of the time, perhaps an occasional ride out in the wooded trails, and a more frequent ride to the fairgrounds. I would probably be riding approximately once per week, less often in the winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracer    
Sounds like you got off lucky with your fall, could have been really nasty. It's precisely why I've only ever ridden once without a helmet, even if I do look silly.
Would you believe that I didn't learn after that? Such a crazy kid!! When I DID learn was when I was riding a young horse and had a freak accident... he got attacked by ground bees, laid down and trapped my leg under him. I had to scare him to get him up cause he was going to roll, and he took off bucking. I came off and landed in a pile of rocks, cracking the back of my helmet. Before that happened, I only wore helmets when training young/green horses. I thought to myself, "Such a freak thing can happen with ANY horse, not just a green one." Since then, you won't catch me on horseback without a helmet. Nobody who rides my horses goes without one, either. The owner of the riding stable, who previously also didn't wear helmets, began wearing one all the time, too. She required all her guides to wear them (much to the dismay of some of them) and required ALL guests (not just minors) to wear them after that, too.
     
    09-17-2012, 11:59 PM
  #5
Started
Had a GREAT lesson tonight! I really like my instructor. I'm going to be crazy sore tomorrow, though. Love it!

I ride in a an English saddle tonight, and really liked it a lot. Next week will be Western... Gotta develop those muscles!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    09-18-2012, 10:14 AM
  #6
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracer    
The first horse seems to give more information about the horses' life than about the horse itself, but it definitely could be worth finding out some more.
Heard back from the seller on this one. He is sold.

Quote:
The Morgan sounds perfect for me! But I guess he could be okay for you too... If you're really wanting to get your confidence back, he sounds best.
I noticed there wasn't an age in the ad, so I emailed and asked. He's "around 20." $1800 for a horse that's over 20? Good luck with that!!!!

Quote:
The third one sounds like a bit of work which you might not need what with the ponies and such.
We're down to one pony, since the seller decided she may like to keep the yearling for breeding... she's going to keep him over the winter, see how he matures, and possibly sell him to us in the spring if she decides not to keep him.

Quote:
Mr Black Beauty is definitely a heart horse.
His pictures just seem like he's not a happy horse. Either he's just not happy with his situation, or he's just a cranky butt.
     
    09-18-2012, 10:54 AM
  #7
Started
Found another prospect... I'm really excited about this one: Thinking of checking out Paint/Arab
     

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