Should I talk to my friend about her riding?
I have been riding with this friend since the beginning. We both started riding at the same barn at the same time when we were 11. Fours years have passed and we both lease horses at the same barn. She uses a crop, big spurs, a curb bit, a noseband, and a tie down on her gelding. The poor guy is miserable and it is written all over his face.
She is determined for him to be the perfect horse but is going about it the wrong way. Because she has shown her trainers well-trained dressage horse, she feels her horse must instantly have an amazing headset as well. So she see saws on the curb bit and once his head is down there she holds it there and there is no give whatsoever. His mouth used to constantly gape open but she just added a tight noseband to fix that. Her gelding is a little stiff on one of his leads so she will canter him in figure 8s and just ride him hard with little to no breaks. He comes out of the ring exhausted and red eyed. She claims she needs all of this stuff to "control" him. Now my horse used to be ridden in most of that stuff as well. When I started riding her I used it for a little while but found most of it unnecessary so I slowly weaned us off all of it. A year later and my mare can be ridden comfortably in a halter, hackamore, or plain snaffle bridle. I don't need spurs or a crop to make her move at all, though I do use nub spurs to give more precise aids when we do dressage. She responds very well and is a much happier horse. My point is you don't need all of that stuff to control a horse.
The problem with my friend is that she does not like to be told that she is wrong and is a little controlling sometimes. Though, to be fair, her mother is like that too so... It kills me to see her do that to her little gelding. He is a sweet boy and you can tell he is trying his hardest. I want to say something to her about it but I don't want to sound like Im being rude, annoying, or a know it all. I've tried to give her subtle hints that maybe there is a better way to do things but I don't think she gets them. Her trainer doesn't say anything to her about it and if she does my friend sure doesn't listen. What should I do? Should I talk to her about it or just keep quiet?
You mentioned her "trainer". Does the trainer point this poor horsemanship out to her? If not, you could say something but she won't like it.
She pays money to her trainer for her instruction, if you say something, do really think she'll listen or will this offend her & get her mad at you? If anything I would talk to her trainer, that's the one who can change this.
I pretty much agree with waresbear, although I will warn you to be careful about how you say things. The last thing you want is drama (believe me, I know). Definitely don't keep quiet, that horse deserves better than that. Maybe you could say something like "Why don't you try him without the tie down today? I think he's improving on his headset..." I know it sounds odd because you don't condone her methods of "training" (and neither do I) but usually the only way to get controlling/know it all people to listen is to compliment them. Maybe she'll listen, maybe she won't. If she absolutely outright refuses to change anything, then it's time to talk to the trainer. Just remember to be polite, but stand your ground.
Agreed with the above. That's why I like being the trainer instead of the trainee now....If there's something I don't like I have the authority at the barn to change it. Good luck and best wishes for the horse.
That sounds like horse abuse to me. Tell her asap, her mom, her trainer etc to try and stop her. She will probably shorten her horse's life and not experience a true bond with her horse. It must be stopped!
I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to be the voice our horses lack. Especially if she is a friend of yours. Do what you can, hope for the best, but unfortunately it is her horse, and there is only so much you can do.
Does your friendship matter more or the horse? If my friends was treating her horse that way, and I did my best to facilitate intelligent and meaningful but not condescending conversations about how I viewed her behavior, and she didn't change, we would not be friends.
I am in no way advocating you dump your friend. In the horse world, you are going to run into so much of this, it's maddening. You have to decide where the line is and hold fast to your beliefs. In my personal opinion, if you watch it happen and do nothing to stop it (when reasonably in your realm of possible control, like a close friend) then you are letting it happen, which is the same as condoning it. And that's what anyone that sees you will think if you continue to associate yourself with her and she does not stop this behavior.
At least it is a lesson you are learning at a young age.
However, I am NOT saying be haughty or high and mighty about it. Be kind, be helpful, attempt to educate, or move on.
This obviously bothered you enough to post about it, now do something else about it. You could try researching threads on the PROPER use of equipment, aids, and assorted training methods. Subscribe to the threads and have an email sit down with said "friend." Give serious thought to the links you send, maybe even try a little descriptive paragraph with each one.
It can't hurt to try a passive approach. If that doesn't help then you need to (IMHO) have a serious sit down with the friend and use pictures!!! Take pictures of your friend riding where it is obvious her horse is in distress and to soothe the way, catch her doing it right if at all possible. This forum is a great tool for teaching. There are others like it, so if you can't find what you need here, search. You'll do yourself and this horse a favor.
If it still doesn't work, maybe this isn't the type of friend you are looking for.... Just saying.
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