Back in the saddle - advice?
Hi everyone! Just joined here but have read several posts in the past. I'm getting back into riding after a few years off, and would like suggestions or advice on how to move forward.
First, my background: Began riding at a young age (around 9) taking western pleasure lessons. Decided I wanted to learn jumping, and started taking lessons with a trainer who focused on eventing. I've had basic dressage and jumping instruction and shown through pre-beginner novice at horse trials, and started two green tbs off the track. I'm now 24 and have had 1.5 - 2 years out of the saddle, at least consistently.
I found a girl letting me do a partial lease, 1-2 days a week affordably. 9 year old 17.2 hh gelding, advertised as a warmblood, but he looks pretty thoroughbred to me. She told me I can do whatever I want with him, trail ride, jump, etc. She said he used to be a 'made hunter' and sold for the big bucks before she got him. She also told me that the last barn he was ridden at, (hopefully I paraphrase this well) he threw a few people for what sounded like trying to get him to get on the bit/collect/engage/etc. Basically take up contact with the bit and urge him forward at the same time.
How do you navigate a major hunter course without being able to collect your horse? :shock: Is this common? She also acted a little confused when I asked her if she'd ever done lateral work with him. I'd like to start some very basic dressage stuff, figure eights, bending, extension and collection, etc., but I also don't want to pick a fight with him. She's a former hunter rider who says she's been riding him western lately (why ride a 17.2 hh beauty western when you can event?? :-P) She said I'm welcome to try.
Suggestions here? Should I find a different horse? Should I use this opportunity to get back in shape, and then find a different horse? Is it a waste of time to try schooling him anything but long and low? Any specific exercises you recommend?
Thanks in advance :) Sorry for the wall of text.
I also lease and the way I look at it, I can tolerate getting a horse in shape, I can tolerate helping school a horse to compete in dressage and eventing, and I can tolerate helping a horse work through trail shyness and other minor issues. What I can't tolerate is risking injury when trying to ride a horse correctly.
If a horse won't accept the bit and won't stand to be ridden from behind into contact by throwing his rider off, he ain't worth a second of my time or a dollar of my money. The owner can fix that on her health insurance, not me.
Thank you for the response!
The weird thing (to me) is, the owner seems to have absolutely no interest in having him ride from behind into contact. It seems to me that she'd be perfectly content riding him around on the buckle on a trail ride for the rest of his days. I'm the one who expressed interest in working with him and trying to get him to use himself.
I met her and the horse today, hopped on briefly but only walked and asked for a brief trot since he threw a shoe last night. I've yet to try to ask him for anything beyond that, for all I know the barn he was at was genuinely confusing him with their cues? Yeah, as I type that, it sounds like an excuse.
She told me he originally sold for $60k+. How does a horse that goes for that amount have that kind of problem with work? Something just seems off about it.
It depends on what their version of collection is and how they achieve it. If they pull on the reins and kick a bit to run the horse forward, then I don't blame him for throwing them. I'd be confused too if I was the horse!
I would have a few rides on him, and get someone that DOES know how to ride a horse over the back and into a contact to have a sit on him and see what he does with a bit of pressure on him. THEN make your decision.
See if the owner will give you a trial period to see if you and the horse get along. Even if the horse was an outstanding, perfectly trained critter - doesn't mean the two of you will mesh. If your intent is to ride for enjoyment, riding is no fun if you don't like the horse or if it doesn't like you.
Pass on him. It's NEVER acceptable for a horse with THAT kind of training to throw anyone for trying to collect their frame.
THIS girl bought a bad banana and is looking for a sucker to fix him.
Keep looking. Good luck, and let us know what you find. =D
Kayty - I'm hoping this was the case, and why he responded in that way. I'd love to have a trainer come look at him; I don't have any horse connections here and cost is an issue for me, but I will definitely look into what trainers are available.
mis - It's a lease, and month to month. I've only committed to 1-2 days/week with my school and work schedule, so in my eyes if it doesn't work out, I'm not out much. I can definitely keep looking!
Corporal - According to the owner, she didn't purchase him but was given him by a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. I don't know the owner at all but she says her background is hunter-jumper, including some experience as a trainer (isn't everyone these days...?). She says he will easily jump 3', with potential to do more. She said I'm welcome to jump him but to make sure I give him a big release, as he jumps big.
I have no experience in hunter-jumper or hunter under saddle, other than being 15 and buying an APHA gelding trained for that, and having to work really hard and long to get him to understand collection, softening, and that bit pressure didn't mean "drop your head". I thought those kind of training techniques kind of stuck with the APHA/AQHA hunter shows, but maybe I'm wrong.
I'm supposed to go ride tomorrow. I'll let you all know how it goes. I'm bringing my boyfriend, so if this monster decides to get feisty there will be a witness/help, lol. I'd like to see for myself what his attitude is as he warms up, and how we get along.
I've accepted that I may just have to keep looking, but I'll give him a chance first. By the by, does anyone know of a good trainer/instructor in the Tampa (or nearby) area that wont charge me an arm and a leg? My interests being dressage or eventing.
I've been trying to find an affordable way for myself to get back in the saddle for some time now. I'm sure some if not most of you can relate to being on a tight budget but still wanting to ride. I've advertised on craigslist a few times for barn work in exchange for riding time/lessons, but there was something wrong with every person who responded. The ones who didn't live an hour away had horses with severe behavioral problems (which they failed to mention before I showed up). One appendix gelding would not take a single step forward when I got on, and eventually started rearing. Another out of work gelding bucked me off twice at the canter. I don't mind working through some little issues with horses - I've had horses with behavioral problems myself - but I don't have the seat right now to begin to deal with those issues. And I'm certainly not going to pay to ride an animal that has them. I did meet a few really sweet horses and people that were just too far away.
The search continues.
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