Is it time to move on?
Hi everyone, sorry if this is really long...
If you don't know already, I don't have my own horse. I ride at a barn with a school horse program, where I have been riding the same horse almost every lesson for the past year. The horse, Amigo, is not a favorite among riders my level (jumping 2' and 2'3''), because he is older, lazy, and doesn't move or jump "nicely." He's usually ridden by absolute beginners. For a long time, I rode him because a) He has great ground manners and b) I believed that I made lots of mistakes when riding and that other horses would not be as tolerant as him and would buck me off as soon as I got on.
I did want to ride competitively, so with the help of my trainer, I started showing Amigo. The first show we did was large and we didn't place, but Amigo was great and we had some of the best rounds we'd ever had. The second show we did was a great success, he was very forward and jumping nicely, and we even won a class. After that show, I began to ride other horses occasionally, and I really enjoyed it. Still, I had promised myself that I would keep going with Amigo for at least a year, so we did another show.
This show was much bigger than any I'd done before and Amigo was at the showgrounds for two days. The first day was a disaster. He was completely unresponsive, hitting jumps and looking miserable, and I had to work by butt off just to keep him cantering. The second day, my trainer gave me spurs, which I had never used before. When I used them, he was more responsive, but he got tired quickly and I felt bad having to use the spurs on him so often just so that we wouldn't crash through the jumps.
Now, I've started riding another pony and I've fallen in love with him, but he belongs to another rider so I can't ride him permanently. Still, he has a very strong personality and he's taught me that I can deal with other, more challenging horses. So, my question is, is it time to move on to a new horse? I really love Amigo but I've realized that he isn't enjoying showing and that I'm having trouble advancing with him, and that he probably will be happier to return to being ridden by the beginners. I have already talked to my trainer and he said that I'm ready to move on, but I can stay at the same level and with Amigo if I want to. I really want to advance, but it will be very hard to let go of Amigo. What should I do?
Thanks and sorry for the length, I've been thinking a lot about this and I just had to vent:-)
I think it's time to move on BUT it doesn't mean you have to absolutely give up riding him. He sounds like he would be good for lessons where you're working on YOU and not so much the horse you're riding - like if you want to work on 2ppont or frog position or your general equitation. He'll still be there though, right? He will still appreciate visits, grooming, walks, snacks or however you spend time with him.
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It sounds as if you have outgrown Amigo, so I would say that it is definitely time to move on. I've gone through this myself, and I know it's sad, but it's the best move for both you and him. He isn't happy showing anymore, so it's not fair to him to keep putting him through it. You are obviously getting better and should start testing yourself in the show ring, and Amigo doesn't sound like the horse to do that on. I know it's sad, but it's not like you're moving to another barn! You can still be buddies with him and ride him sometimes.
Thank you everyone, yep I have decided to move on to a new horse, right now I'm trying out different school horses. But it doesn't mean I'll stop loving Amigo! He still makes a great horse to cuddle and just be with :-)
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