I've been in that boat so many times. I felt horrible, and grand, and every emotion in between!
To start off my tale I shall regale the wonderful memory of Rajah. A BEAUTIFUL, papered, well bred, straight egyptian arabian mare. She was 16 and had only ever been a pasture pet. But, she was a love to handle and seemed VERY eager to please. She never meant to hurt me and if she thought she HAD, she looked SO upset with herself! (hard to believe, but true!) Well. I was that naive, young horse lover and after a year of nothing but ground work and bonding, I knew it was time to 'ride' her....She already took saddle, bit, girth, and everything like a seasoned trail pony. Now...to get on her. I wasn't so stupid to be the first though...I'd hardly ridden and while I seemed a 'natural' at ground work, I KNEW I was no trainer. Heck, I didn't even know if I had the RIGHT tack. So, I do the responsible thing and go through the search for a trainer that was willing to come out to my barn (I lacked a trailer blarg). I found one, and he WASN'T cheap. I asked all the 'right' questions, right down to "Do you mind using my tack? Or at least looking at it to tell me if it's ok for us?" he refused. He didn't do 'that' sort of thing! (red flag!!!!!!) Well, I figure he's right, and just let him do his 'job'.....A year of ground work went out the door as he back-end cynched her! (not sure what it's called but he wrapped a rope around her 'waist' and pulled on it till she bucked!...also RED FLAG!!!!) By now though he's in 'charge' and I wasn't knowing enough, or ballsy enough to say anything otherwise. She eventually calms down and he tacks her up. She stands like a pro. He gets on her and walks her a short bit, then gets off, starts to untack her and says "You can ride her tomorrow...and you should now that she's broke" (RED FLAG!!!!!! OMG THE RED FLAGGG!!!!) Well, my naive butt thought "omg I'm going to ride!" So, come the next day, I lunge her, tack her up, lunge her again, and I get ready to get on....I get on, take a deep breath, and give the lightest 'squeeze' I could....and...she bolts. I'm NOT a trainer! I'm BARELY a rider!!! (things I flat out TOLD the trainer the day before!) Not only did she bolt, but...she took the reins! So ALL I have to hold onto is the horn of a VERY bad saddle! (found out AFTER the fact!!!!) End result? Broken back. She turned just before running into a fence and I went flying, hitting my lower back and hips against a wooden fence post....which THANK GOD, also broke! Talk about pain...there is nothing like a broken back...if you're lucky that is....Feeling pain let me know I would ride again one day, and how 'lucky' I was...Sadly, no matter how 'good' that mare was....I knew then, I couldn't handle her. For a year she was a blessing...after that though...it was too much. It took me a month to be able to walk without crutches, two months to have the courage to go into the pasture again, and 6 months to ride again. Luckily at that time I had a wonderful percheron gelding who taught me that I wouldn't fall 'every' time. Needless to say, the wonderful Raja was given to a woman who specialized in training and handling older horses that had no previous riding time. And she even said that if she was 'untrainable' she loved her personality SO much, she'd gladly make her a pasture pet if the need came down to it. A month later I get news that her 26 year old niece was riding her on trails!
This brings me to my second horse. The percheron gelding. Blue was an AMAZING ride! Not the smoothest thing in the world, but so sturdy, solid, calm, patient, willing, forgiving, and so many other wonderful things I can't begin to describe! I had actually made payments on him for nearly 2 years without even SEEING him in person, only pictures from his previous owner that lived several states away. Well, I got him as a 4 year old stud (still a silly 'child' here). The day I got him, I tripped while leading him, he spooked, and jumped right OVER me! I called the trainer I had lined up for him while still on the ground (I wasn't even kicked or stepped on, just dazed) He's picked up the next day, another horse left in his wake (this one will be told next). He was gone for two months in training. I visited him every other weekend (it was too far to go more than that). It was while he was gone that I broke my back. So, when he came back from JUST being trained...he sat in a pasture for 5-6 months without so much as being lunged. He was MISERABLE! Finally I get into riding him again though, and he perks up, ready to work. I take several lessons on him and really build my confedence on him. The first day I rode him, it was like he'd JUST got back from training. Sounds like a perfect horse? He was...one problem...He's a WORK horse and me riding him every weekend wasn't enough for him. He'd escape, couldn't hold weight, and just LOOKED sad. So, finally, I knew it was 'his' time. I traded him to a woman who grew up in the percheron show ring, and that's what he became. Under her care and guidance he is a brick house that is 5th in the nation for his breed, age, training, and gender. He pulls carriages, rides english and western, does trail rides, AND has even run barrels, and not ONCE has he escaped or lost weight while with his owner. He's the woman's ONLY gray, and out of all the horses she has, HE is HER best friend. She lets me know this regularly by keeping me updated, even though it's been about 3-4 years.
Now, if you notice I said 'traded' him. 'What for?' you might ask. Well...I traded him for a belgian/quarter horse gelding who was already started and been trail ridden and was advancing to pleasure cantering and had even done a few lessons with a few girls the woman worked with. Her reason for not wanting him? Well for one he wasn't a percheron, for two, he was TINY. Having belgian in him did nothing but cause him to be stockier than the average QH. Well, I took him on and learned rather quickly he just...wasn't great. I found a girl who went to school and showed horses and she'd been part of the 'show' circut since a toddler. She'd successfully trained a few horses and had more experiance to handle his 'stuborness' issues. So, she started to work him. I watched her with him and he was GREAT! Gave her little to NO issues and worked like a champ! Never pulled on the bit, backed without being asked, or refused to go. (luckily he wasn't one to bolt or rear, though he did do small little bucks if asked to do more than walk) Well, even with all this training (months) every time I went to ride him, even under strict instruction from the girl, he showed his rear. He wasn't pleasent to be around, he wasn't easy to ride, and he was just...sour...to ME. He was fine with everyone else, but he wasn't FOR everyone else. So, I put him up for sale or trade. Was aproached by a girl's camp who had a pony who's only issue was he just went too 'fast' for beginners. I was up for that, and told them the issues I had with him, but told them they could come out and look at him. They did. They used my tack, and theirs (I had WAY better tack by this time!) and he did stellar, if a bit on the 'lazy' side, which they were fine with. So, we do the trade. The pony turned out to be too much for me and they bought it back for what I had been asking for Buddy ('my' horse). But...Buddy, now named Pringles, is one of the BEST horses they have at the camp and often 'fought over' by their riders to primp and ride him. Lol.