I have a 4 year old Oldenburg (almost 5 now) colt. I did his ground training, he was started by my trainer, and we're in a lesson program (dressage) now. I've been riding him a little over a year. He is very sweet and has never misbehaved. The problem I'm having is that I don't trust him, I think because of his age, and I can never really relax when I'm riding. As a result, I get tense, then things fall apart, then I get upset and frustrated and it's all downhill from there. Another problem is his large stride - I never feel in control. I signed up for a schooling show that is now coming up which I totally regret doing and would like to back out of. I guess I'm afraid that we'll do poorly and I'll embarrass myself. So now I'm wondering if I should find another horse that I can be confident with or if I'm just being a big baby, putting too much pressure on myself, and need to give it more time. On one hand it would be stupid to give up such a good horse, on the other hand what's the point of continuing with a horse a can't form a partnership with? We do have some good rides, so it's not all bad. I perfectly fine with my other horse, but she can't do too much b/c of age. Maybe I'm just feeling discouraged?
I am going to tell you missy, that I was in the same boat with my horse when we first met! Ginormous strides... I came off of him, I kept thinking he was going to do something, etc.
You're boogering yourself out, and then your horse is feeling like he can't trust you either. Those big strides will get easier as you learn to keep your seat on him and follow his movement. I know you can do it, I did!
Don't feel embarassed.. you shouldn't care what others think. Even at a horse show! You are there, as Golden said, to be with your horse, to get him experiencing something new and different, and to show off! It sounds like you need to give yourself some slack.. a mile of slack! You're doing great! Your horse is doing great! I hope your instructor/trainer has the same positive comment/attitude I am sharing with you!
don't feel discouraged! Has he ever done anything to make you lose your trust in him? He is young and you have trained him with help. You have seen him at his best and worst.
No, he's never done anything wrong. He's spooked pretty big a couple of times, which all horses do, and I came off once. We've been on several outings, he's always good. I think I just have a really bad habit of focusing on the negative and a general lack of confidence. I think I will just set my goals really low for the show - move forward, don't come off, remember the test - not worry about the scores at all and maybe then I can relax.
Breathe... I think you are wise to not trust completely but you need to give him some credit. Don't dwell on those bad rides.. those rides teach us all something and they make the next ride look like a slice of heaven!
I think that's a good idea, but you're doing it again! Don't say or THINK negative things like that. "I will set my goals really low" instead think "We can do this! And if we get great scores, that's a plus!" You see what I'm saying? Every goal you have is Sky high, and you need to start treating them a little more positively and even more enthusiastically.
Don't worry :)
Step back and take a few deep breaths..
Now you say this boy has never done anything so you may need to forget he is young, apart from what you ask of him, but young doesn't always equal untrustworthy.
Really makes me wonder, if this is your first show you simply shouldn't be able to embarrass yourself, because your only goal should be to take your boy along and make sure he has an enjoyable day.
A couple of months back I took my big rehab mare out to her first ever show, I ended up entering two walk trot on the rail tests, because I didn't trust her to do a full intro level test. She got two pink ribbons, seems like they actually like you to walk in a walk trot test, OH well it will come. I was just delighted to get her in the ring, we stayed in the ring, and the trot portions of the test were good. She had a great experience and I will expect more from her next time, but a first schooling show, nope you can't embarrass yourself
Golden is so right :) The first show is all about having fun, experiencing it, introducing your horse to it, maybe even being silly during warmup like "free walking" the entire time ;) But the most important aspect is you and your horse have fun, you get it done, and you find a way to end it on a good note!
Another example, I took two girls and 3 horses to a show with the barn owner and her hubbie. They were so scared for their show and I saw the result in their horses. So we all just pretended we were playing simon says during the show (I entered a green mare just to get her used to the experience and to keep the girls company) and when the judge said walk, we walked and smiled and when he said trot, we trotted on the correct diagonal, relaxed, and everything.. We had a blast. The horses calmed down and they listened well as soon as we settled down
and we got our ribbons! Now the more shows you do, you can start building bigger goals and accomplishing them too.
Just remember to breathe and have fun :) And not care what others think. This is you and your horse's day!