Hissy Fits from a School Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-06-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hissy Fits from a School Horse

Hi guys,

I need help with one of my barns school horses. Jack is an 8 year old pony/horse from Mexico. He was 3 when the barn first got him, but only 6 months later, the barn closed for almost 4 years. He was groomed and played with but not ridden during that time. When the barn opened again, we rode him to get him ready for lessons. He was amazing.

Jack is not the most coordinated of all horses and jumping is not his forte. He is amazingly comfortable and the sweetest little man in hand. He can do small crossrails but we mainly stick to flat so we don't hurt him. About 3 months ago, he started to throw small bucks as a rebellion to bad riders. We took him out of the program and only had trainers ride him for about a month.

If you are a very confident and knowledgable rider, he does not pull any stunts but if you show any fear, he spins around in circles, throwing small bucks and rears. He doesn't want people to fall off, only to scare them so they dismount. We have put him back into lessons- 1-2 a day at the most, 6 days a week- but he still throws hissy fits for no reason. We try to only put riders he likes on him but he has recently started to rebel against them as well.

I am scared that Jack is going to buck his way out of a job and I don't want to see that happen to him. He is amazingly sweet and mushy on the ground and he will follow a trainer around the ring forever if he could.

Does anyone know anything that might help Jack feel a little better about being ridden by different people? I have hopped on him a few times and he didn't even bother trying anything but then had a hissy fit the second the rider got back on. Many of the riders are accomplished. They don't pull on his mouth, thump on his back or give him mixed signals-- he just decides he doesn't want to be ridden anymore.

Jack isn't the prettiest by human standards and I'm afraid what will happen to him if this job doesn't work out. If anyone has help, please don't be shy.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 05:15 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Queensland, Australia.
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Firstly, some horses simply aren't suited to be school horses. You mentioned that from age three, he had four years off. Most horses that become good school horses are developed over a long period of time, with consistent work and being exposed to many different things - environments, obstacles & of course riders.

I'd get as many well balanced, seated riders to ride the horse as possible. Doing as many different things with him as possible. You're average, beginner school horse is essentially 'bomb proof' (of course, not literally, any educated horse person knows that horses spook, etc). Maybe look for what exactly makes him go, no, I don't want to do this anymore? Then, work from there.

Sir Success. Eventer.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Australia
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He sounds like a lovely horse with the right rider. Would it be an option to sell him to a good home with a compatible rider and buy a different horse who would be more suited to the program?
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 09:09 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Texas
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He's not a proper lesson horse. Horses that are tempormental and easily frustrated like that but perform well for good riders are not lesson horse material. Sell him or only put good riders on him.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Alberta
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I agree, some horses are just not happy being lesson horses. I know of several like this, and a few were even fine for a couple of years before deciding they were "done." Reactions ranged from nipping and biting, to naughtiness under saddle, and some would just plain shut down when a rider was up. It's a rare horse that has the gentle, forgiving soul to be a lesson horse all their life and truly enjoy it. Some put up with it for a while, and some would never be suited to it. Those horses that didn't work out, we found them happy homes where they would only have one rider. Some we were able to school between lessons and kind of prolong their time at that barn, but it was only temporary and you could still tell they weren't happy overall.

Sounds like Jack is getting a bit sick of things and would like a person just for himself. If the barn isn't willing to sell him on, maybe they'd consider leasing him to a person or two that he likes so he doesn't have so many randoms riding him?

A girl, a horse, and a helmet cam!! Eventing It Up In The Great White North!!
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