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Some of you know I bought my first horse back in February. I'm not a complete beginner. I've taken a lot of lessons and leased a few horses in the past. I've ridden Mission (my Rocky gelding) a total of four times since I got him.
The last time I rode was Wednesday. We didn't really have any problems other than we were in the round pen, he fought me a little on the left turns and he takes several steps after I ask him to stop. He flexes to both sides very well and will yield his hindquarters.
I thought that I might need a more severe bit, but was afraid to change him out of the plain O-ring snaffle. It looks like they actually used a sweet iron wonder gag bit on him at the place where I bought him, so I went and bought one of those. I thought he might respond a bit better to going left and coming to a halt.
Once I got it attached to the bridle, I realized that it wasn't going to work with the headstall I have because he has a small head and this new bit adds a bit of length. Ugh. I was already pushing it with the O-ring snaffle as far as length.
What I guess I should have done is put the O-ring back on and just got on and ridden him out into the paddock by the barn. I even had his saddle on and the girth tightened up.
I lost my nerve again. There was nobody out there with me, which probably makes a big difference. But I just couldn't do it. I ended up braiding his mane, unsaddling him and putting him away. What the hell is wrong with me? It's a gorgeous day outside. He did great with the lunging before I saddled him up. I know how to do a one-rein stop in case he gets a little out of hand (which isn't likely).
It just feels like such a horrible joke that my husband finally agreed to spend the money for such a great horse and now I don't have the guts to actually ride him! :oops: :-( :oops:
Time time time time time.
I have horses where if they sit for a month they need time, and dont ride the way they did when i was riding them everyday.
What i would do is stay in the round pen for a while. Work him going around, across the pen, do some figure 8s in there. Just ride your horse. The not stopping could be lack of riding and it may come back with time. When you stop back him up a few steps. Then he should expect to start backing up and stop harder.
Totally agree. In fact, I have Clinton Andersons dvd's-regaining lost confidence, which I have actually sent to a friend to see if they will help her. he spends LOTS of time just in the round pen, getting really comfortable with your horse. Make sure you are solid in your gaits and control before you leave there. Build your confidence there. I used to practice all sort of exercises to get my horse soft and supple and really listening to me-winding down (making circles smaller) then winding out....without using your reins. Try using just your legs to control your horse. It is a great exercise and does help confidence. When you get it at a walk-speed up. It is much harder than you would think. You can also teach your horse to stop without your reins. Personally I hate to go up in bits. Learn to make your horse more responsive to you. You can never out pull a horse. I don't care what bit you use.
Before you switch bits go to the training section and read the sticky at the top about will your horse repond to the bit? It helps and it may help you learn about softness which is great in a horse.
Don't give up and you don't need to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes being scared just shows good sense.
You got good suggestions already. Is there any chance you can find an experienced rider to help you select a bit?
One of the best things a more experienced horseman/woman can do is help you know what is normal behavior and what is misbehavior (plus giving tips on how to correct it).
My opinion is if you are feeling fear, please do not attempt to ride all by yourself. The horse will sense this in you and it could make things even worse for you. Even if you don't have a "horsey" friend, anyone that can be there should you need help or encouragement would be a great idea.
Totally agree. I have learned over the years that I have days when it is best for me not to ride. It is not a good thing for him or me, and I will not have a good ride. Those days we do other things. THis helps to insure we always do something positive.
Thanks everybody. I think I will put that plain snaffle back on him in the morning and stick with round pen walking until I am more confident.. It is just frustrating to feel such fear when I know this horse has been so well trained.
Do what you need to to get your confidence up. Many of us go thru it.
I too, just got my horse in February. I am just now to the point where I am not afraid to ride her. I got over my fear and built up my confidence with a month of lessons from a really good instructor. My mare had been sensing my fear ( i was thrown by a different horse on New New Year's Eve and was so afraid she would throw me too) and was really being a butthead.
I was suprised at how quickly my confidence came back with some lessons. I even rode her on a trail all by myself last Thursday.
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