How to tell a friend I don't enjoy riding with them?
I have a really good friend who loves to ride. He was the one to show us the trails around where we live. He doesn't have anyone to ride with - his wife doesn't ride and his kids only go on very short rides around their property at this point. My hubby and I have ridden with in the past several times and it is just no fun. Our riding styles are very different and it always seems that we end up riding his way and he never rides our way.
We like to do a lot of trotting and cantering on the trails. We do walk to give the horses a breather and footing/weather dependent, but our horses just love trotting off down the trail. He likes to walk. And only walk. He also rides bareback almost every time and ends up doing a few strides trotting then walks, then trots and then walks. Personally this drives me crazy because I can never get into a groove. Our horses generally end up getting very annoyed too. He has also gotten off to have a break (we had only been going for 20 minutes or so) and dropped the lead line stating that his horse never moves and then watched in shock as she took off. We spent the rest of the time walking back to the trailer hoping she was there.
The problem is that he lives just down the road from our favorite trail head. He doesn't have a trailer so this is the only place he rides and we feel guilty going there without him knowing how badly he wants to join us. I really enjoy hanging out with him and his wife (the 4 of us are always getting together for dinners and such) and don't want to hurt his feelings or ruin the friendship at all. Any ideas on how to politely let him know that we are uninterested in riding with him?
(oh - he is very old school cowboy and very full of pride, so telling him is tricky)
if its a public trail you don't need to say anything.
but if you want to give him a call just tell him we plan on going to the trail head on this day and we are planning on trotting and cantering alot as we want to keep conditioning our horses. if you can keep up you are more then welcome to join.
otherwise i wouldn't call him and wouldnt tell him anything enless he asked.
Are you totally disinterested in riding with him or is it salvageable?
Maybe have him meet you at a specific time, you work your horses beforehand and then swing over and join up with him and have your horses shuffle along as their break?
Ask him about the trotting. Maybe his horse is being a jerk. Maybe he's trying to get a better seat bareback and that how he tries. Do it in a funnier less confrontational way. He starts trotting, go "haha what's the rush". His horse runs away? Tell him "oh you know so-and-so used to do that but we did x y z and that resolved that problem!". Ask him if he's in discomfort and that's why he's getting down - he might be in pain or he might be "shamed" into staying mounted.
Why can't he ride alone?
You could also tell him when he asks that you're conditioning your horses and need to ride hard.
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It makes me crazy too just to walk (also hurts my back after a while )...I need to move on down the trail. :-) Sometimes if I am riding with someone who is so slow, I will just ask/tell them that I need to 'go' for a while, make sure they are OK with me leaving and then move on, let me and my horse relax, then come back. I'd rather just keep on going at a steady pace though.
This is the great "Trail Riding Dilemma" and why I mostly ride by myself. I have friends who only want to walk on trail rides and I like to school though all the gaits and various things I want my horse to know.
When riding in a group, I look at it as social time and we only go as fast as the slowest/greenest horse & rider are comfortable with. I can do some things to ease the boredom but mostly I'm just there for the company and go along and get along.
When I want to work on stuff, I don't even really want anyone to talk to me so riding by myself works best. My friends all know I'm like this no one gets their feelings hurt. I also try to pick times when they aren't available to ride anyhow to go do my schooling.
The main thing to remember is, just because someone has a horse, it's not your responsibility to keep them entertained. He's a big boy and can find others to ride with if he really wants to. It's your off time and your time together, you & your hubby, to be with your horses and have some down time as a couple too. You don't OWE him that time.
Most of us have a non horse related job so we have to take advantage of our opportunities to ride. I go into a ride with something specific I intend to accomplish. It may be I want to ride to the top of x mtn or x number of miles, to I want to work on a specific training issue etc... This makes it easy to keep whomever I am riding with on my plan. I make sure they know what the plan is before the ride. I have several friends who are casual riders who don't like long rides over difficult terrain. Being in the saddle for 8-10 hours is torture for them. They don't go with me most of the time. A short 3-5 mile ride to fish is more what they are after. They go on those rides. They may think I am nuts but they don't feel bad when I go without them either.
Having the specific goal beforehand helps make things less personal. If the goal is to be on top of x ridge at light so we can scout for elk and its x # of miles to therefrom the trailhead then nobody has to ask or wonder why we have to be on the trail by 4:30am. Nobody asks to get off and rest or whatever because we are racing the sun.
If the goal is to take my wife who is a casual rider on a nice comfortable ride with the intention of enjoying the scenery and solitude then how many times we stop and rest or take pictures or whatever probably doesn't matter very much and I don't get frustrated, and if she knows before hand what kind of ride I am going on it makes it pretty simple for her to decide whether or not she wants to go.
The same would apply to your friend. We have x goal for our ride, we would love for you to come.
Call and mention that on your next ride you and the others would like to pick up the pace. You'd be pleased if he'd join you at the faster pace that you enjoy having him along.
I agree with huntfishnride. Set goals and make them clear to him before you ever set off.. Even if they're not necessarily real goals all the time. That is, maybe once he rides with you and see's that you will leave him behind in lieu of reaching those goals, he'll either pony up and join you or give it up.
:DWhen my husband and I go for ride on our own, and friends or kids say they would of loved to have gone too. We just say we were on a date! That pretty much takes care of any more comments.:D
Thanks for all the replies!
I don't mind every once in a while riding with him, but the problem is that we have limited time to trail ride (I ride 3 times-ish a week in the arena and get to the trails on weekends when able) and I want to use that time wisely for conditioning.
He calls us just about every weekend to ride with him and we end up having to come up with excuses to avoid hurting his feelings and avoid the ride. The forest by his house has great trails for long canters and is the perfect place for conditioning with the bonus of being 20 minutes from the barn.
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