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Silkcookie 11-29-2011 05:10 AM

Confidence Knocked Novice Rider seeks experienced advice
Hi, I hope that someone can give me some advice based on their experience. I am 42 years old, so assess risks differently to a younger person, and when i fall it hurts!

I had been paying for sand-school lessons for a year and confidently wanted to get my own horse. A friend of mine, who is experienced in horses helped me fine one and I now have a 14.2 cob mare who is 4 and a half years old. The horse is kept about a half an hour drive away from where I live (although I have now facilities to keep her at my house)
  1. Within a week the horse shook (I thought it bucked) and I fell off and it hurt, I changed my jodpurs to have a better grip and help my balance
  2. The next week I was out hacking with someone that was breaking their 2 year old infront and the 2 year old was hard to handle and spooked at a bag and my horse (who wasn't spooked before although i only had her for two weeks) spooked too and bolted across a field with me on her (I stayed on and coaxed her back eventually)
  3. The next week I refused to go out with the unbroken horse and got my friend to ride a bike so that someone was with me - that was fine except when we stopped to discuss my leg/arm position and let the horse eat grass on the verge - setting off again the horse stamped its front foot like a bull as i think she wanted to stay to eat grass. I got her to walk on - she was also increasingly spooked on this hack with parked cars signs etc
  4. The following week I took her to a livery across the road and they rode her and said that she was green and having lived her whole life in a sand-school did not know the basics rein control, backing up etc, they offered me 200.00 for her (I paid 1850.00)
  5. I decided to read loads of books and teach her the basics myself, I was doing well until I was told I was wasting my time and I need to hack out to learn. My lessons were sabotaged
  6. Last weekend she had been fed hayledge rather then hay and I took her out. She bucked and reared and stamped her feet within 20 feet of leaving the yard. Someone came and tried to lead her and she bucked and reared again. I got off and we tried to walk her back to the yard and she bucked (hooves 4 foot off the ground) it was hard to keep hold of her
I was very distaught and was really very clammy and shocked/scared by the experience. I had said to my 'expert' friend from week one that i was not happy that something was not right all I wanted was a quiet plodder to fuss and ride out. I have been told for weeks that I am wasting my time reading books (I don't sign up to the competition of winning against the horse through kicking and shouting and find Horse whispering tecniques more my style) that I don't need to do exercises to teach the horse and am wasting my time and hacking time, that i am not even a novice rider (lower then that) that I know nothing about hourses and that this is the quietest cob that you will ever find. I can trot comfortably and maneouvre the horse I don't think I am that useless- my confidence is in bits, I feel bullied and stupid and told that I don't understand horses becasue I am too old to learn and I hate the thought of seeing the horse now - but it is not the horses fault.

I know this has been long but my question is - is this normal behaviour for a horse. She seemed to be worse on Hayledge, but there seems no point in having a horse if I am too scared to ride. Can anyone reassure me that other horses are calmer and less spooked and tantrumy. I am aware that her behaviour might be becasue she is so young but I am scared to have her at my house with no support and not being able to cope. Please help.

DuffyDuck 11-29-2011 05:23 AM

Firstly, what did you know about the horse when you bought it? Secondly, did you vet check it before you bought it? Thirdly, do you have a contract written?

You are NEVER too old to learn, but bumps do hurt more, and no question is too silly, however I would firmly believe you should get a trainer to assist you- help bring the horse on, and your knowledge too.

1850 is a LOT for a green cob, a lot. The behaviour you have been experiencing is her testing you, hopefully, but get an equine dentist out to check her teeth, a chiro or vet out to check her back, and check her saddle still fits. I'm not a fan of shouting or screaming at my horse, she'd probably walk away from me, but I'm not a fan of whispering to my horse, she probably wouldn't hear me ;D You have to find that happy medium, and being assertive without being aggressive is the way forward, look at some of the threads in horse training to help give you an idea for ground work and lunging your cob.

You can learn by hacking, but I find as a nervous rider myself that gaining control in a school environment easier so then I can teach my horse 'stop' incase we tank on a hack ;D

Honestly review your friendship with this woman, however. Selling a 4.5yo green cob to a novice rider is irresponsible.

I hope you manage to find a solution, that doesn't require you selling this horse and you make it work for the pair of you! Where abouts in UK are you?

Silkcookie 11-29-2011 05:30 AM

Hi, Thank you for your reply. I took an 'Expert' horse person with me and he checked her out physically, she only seems to buck when she wants to do something else - and I carefully checked the saddle fits as this was a concern of mine. I am only 8 stone too so she probably hardly feels me.

I love you analogy of shouting and whispering that is probably where I am

I live in north devon but becasue i have been told that I won't find a better horse I am thinking that getting maybe an older more experienced one will simply result in the same problems.

Yes my relationship with the people that are caring for her is also in tatters as I feel so unsupportive and bullied. I think that if I sell the horse maybe I can start again with a new one. Thank you again

DuffyDuck 11-29-2011 05:36 AM

Is there anywhere else you can move her for now, somewhere that will provide the help you need? My yard is brilliant, helped me find my youngster and bring her on, which I couldn't have done on my own despite a fair few year riding/ownership experience under my belt.

Don't let people bully you. Its very easy for horse people to let you know what they feel is right, the only way, or the high way.

Personally for me, get away from the people she is with, and who you bought her from. Anyone who makes someone feel so negative about what they are doing are not worth knowing, there are plenty of lovely people out there that will help you.

Get a vet or chiro out, expert or not, they're not qualified ;D

It honestly sounds like you need a fresh start where people will give you the help you need as soon as possible, the bucking sounds like she is testing you however, and this needs to be addressed before it becomes a serious, dangerous issue for you both.

~*~anebel~*~ 11-29-2011 06:23 AM

The first thing I tell lesson goers when they want to buy a horse is to lease (I think you say "loan" over there) a horse. A part lease if possible where you only have to worry about the horse for maybe 3 days a week and are not completely in charge of vet/farrier care.

Personally I think what your "friend" did was completely underhanded and downright mean - did she know the seller?? (I'm willing to bet money she did!) Honestly I think you do need to sell this mare (and cut your losses - "losing" a couple thousand euro is better than losing your life or mobility!) and NOT because of any inability you have!! You were simply sold a completely unsuitable first horse.

Look for something to lease that is advertised as a schoolmaster, quiet and suitable for beginner to intermediate riders. Not only will only paying part of the costs for the horse allow you to "ease into" horse ownership it may also help you recover some money from the mare. Take lessons on the horse and always ask the owner about what they are doing for regular hoof and vet care as you will probably be paying for part - and it gives you an opportunity to learn what to do when you have more experience and can buy your own horse again!

Good luck!! And know that it is nothing YOU are doing wrong, simply that the mare is too young and green and should have been sold to a trainer or experienced rider. There is a saying over here that green plus green equals black and blue and it is true! You need a solid citizen to teach you and take care of you in the saddle!!

Silkcookie 11-29-2011 06:38 AM

Thank you that is good advice and what I was thinking but I have had no-one to talk to outside of the people looking after my horse. I do really appreciate the replies I have had - already feeling a sense of peace:) with the situation as I now know that there is a way forward

Skyseternalangel 11-29-2011 09:27 AM

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I'd just like to address that reading about how to train a horse or any kind of research is a very smart move and it was rude of those people to kill your confidence in yourself. You are very smart, and don't let those people affect you. I'm currently dealing with the same thing, it's hard to not be hurt when someone you trusted or held in such high regard turns out to be a bully of sorts.
If you truly want this horse, there are ways to turn it into the horse of your dreams, but it'll cost you in training expenses or riding lessons from someone experienced. I have to tell you from experience, though, I find it is worth it.

But everything is up to you. It'd be good to lease a very experienced and trusty horse so you don't have to deal with rearing or whatnot, but that horse may test you too (probably not as radically) so I definitely strongly absolutely suggest taking riding lessons with someone who works WITH you, not putting you down or screaming at you or whatnot.

I hope things work out for you, you are amazing.. don't let anyone tell you less and don't think any less of yourself!

Silkcookie 11-29-2011 10:01 AM

Thank you - I have learnt alot from reading and when I would ask questions such as why did she bang her hoof and I would get the answers she is just playing - I looked it up and it can be associated with her having a tantrum and wanting to stay and eat the grass whcih makes more sense. I would love to keep her but I am worried being on my own and not knowing what to do - but I am starting to feel that it is not me and if she is testing me then maybe I can let her know that I have developed good balance and am an expert on staying on bucking horses!! I will seek riding lessons in my area I think and see how that goes Thank you again i am glad I came across this forum:)

Skyseternalangel 11-29-2011 10:11 AM

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We're glad you did too! :)

Definitely check out every riding instructor available.. sit in during lessons if you can. Find the one that works for you.. because a great instructor with a bad attitude won't help your confidence either!

Good luck!

Heelsdown 11-29-2011 01:17 PM


Selling a 4.5yo green cob to a novice rider is irresponsible.

Absolutely! Aside from the price being high ( where you are. Where I am cobs are very pricey) but aside from cost, the horse itself is not a good match for you.

I'm sorry this happened.

I can't speak for you, but if this happened to me, I'd cut my losses and move on. I'd sell the horse for whatever I can get for it, and find a mount much more suitable for my level. Unless a trainer really does believe this horse will work for you and you just need more confidence. That's possible.

But me, I personally wouldn't continue riding a horse that was too green for my level of riding. I'd rather learn my lesson by losing money than losing something more.

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