One of my closest friends -- we'll call her "Jane" -- has been really getting to me lately... She just assumes that everyone has to ride like her, and her horses are the best of the best. She has a young-ish gelding, Ace, (he's around 3 or 4, I think) that she touts as "kid-safe" -- her parents originally bought him for her little sister, but her sister is afraid of the horse and now never wants to ride. I never heard much about it, so I figured she'd just had a bad spill. Now, my friend is leasing out that horse to a little girl who, from my understanding, has very little riding experience.
We -- "Jane", her boyfriend, another friend, and that little girl -- met up at the local arenas recently, and "Jane" said right away that Ace hadn't been ridden in awhile, and so jumped on him and kicked him into a full out gallop all across the arena. He bucked five or six times before he reached the other end, then once more on his way back at a walk, then pinned his ears and snapped at my mare. And what does "Jane" do? She hands the reins over to this little girl and says "He should be good to go. Just running off some energy."
The girl didn't want to get on him at all, and she just followed us around leading him. Eventually, "Jane" convinced her to get on somehow, and the horse kept trying to take off after our horses whenever we went to practice barrels or whatever. Jane's boyfriend (riding another one of her horses) kept his mare near Ace, trying to keep him from running off, until his mare bolted at something. Ace bolted off right behind him, and the little girl was pulling back and yelling "Whoa", but he still wouldn't stop until he was at least halfway across the arena. Then "Jane" chews out the girl for pulling too hard on his mouth because "he has a sensitive mouth"!! The girl tied Ace up to the rail and wouldn't go near him the rest of the day.
At one point, my friend who was riding my 10yr old mare, Ruby, got off and the girl agreed to ride Ruby for awhile, and Ruby gave her no problems at all... the girl even got up the courage on her own to canter for a few paces, something she'd apparently never done.
I'm not saying Ruby in infallible... I've seen her bolt once or twice, and she gets the worst attitude problem when she's in heat... but she's a horse I think can be trusted with a novice rider under supervision. And every minute that girl was on Ruby, either I or my friend kept an eye on them. Whereas "Jane" just ran off and basically left the girl on her own.
One other complaint about this same "Jane" is how she thinks her mare's bolting is a sign of a good barrel horse. Basically, as soon as she loosens the reins on this mare, it bolts. If she tries to hold it in one place, it dances in circles and snorts. The entire hour and a half that she was riding that mare, it didn't not stop dancing around, and when she runs barrels on it, it's really obvious that she's only along for the ride and that horse is charging off to where ever it **** well pleases. When it rounds that third barrel and comes running back, the gate has to be open and everyone has to get out of the way, because that horse won't stop until it hits something. One time she ran barrels, the gate wasn't open, and the horse ran right into the fenceline.
Now, I don't care how fast that horse is at barrels, I think she should at least have control over it enough to make it stand in one spot longer than two seconds. She even said herself that she won't show that horse in anything but barrels, because it would probably run a judge over.
Also, her other horse that her boyfriend was riding... it goes after everyone and everything. I've watching it try to go through a barbed wire fence with her on it, just to attack a gelding on the other side. It took a chunk out of Ruby's leg a few years back when fighting with her in the trailer, and if there are other horses or people in the arena when that horse runs barrels or poles, it's all "Jane" can do to hold her back from running them down. And it also has a "sensitive mouth", so you're not allowed to pull back very hard. Did I mention this is one of the horses that she puts novices on?