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Ashsunnyeventer 10-12-2012 10:00 PM

Good Rider or Good Horse? *Rant*
At my barn, there is a girl who bought one of the lesson ponies a few years back. This pony was super and any one who rode her would win (in eventing) by a mile. Since the girl got this horse, she won everything everywhere. At the barn, and around our area, she is known as an amazing rider who's won it all. When she moved up to training level, it was pushing the horse's ability and they started getting third and fourth. Coincidentally, this is when the girl decided she wanted a new horse because hers wasn't winning any more. Her mom bought her a $30,000 horse who'd proven himself up to the 2* level and was now being used as a schoolmaster. I got my new horse around this time, too. My older horse was having major stifle problems and vet said no more jumping. My new horse is a 4yo TB mare, off the track for a year. About 3 weeks after we got our new horses, we were riding together and decided to play pony swap. I got on the schoolmaster who went in the nicest frame just picking up the reins, and she got on my mare who likes to be ridden like a 2x4. 10 minutes on my mare and the girl got off. She handed the reins to me and told me that I my horse was out of control and wild. My horse, being a TB, DOES like to go a little faster than other horses. I've had to work through rearing, bucking and galloping with this horse just to get her to beginner novice level dressage and behave nicely. When this girl rode my horse, the horse didn't spook or behave badly at all. The rider didn't get her bending or supple and just got very nervous (IMO). The "amazing rider" got scared riding a horse that trotted too fast.. really -__-

The point of this rant is that people are quick to assume that the person who wins is the best rider, but in reality, that person may just have everything handed to them. I'm not saying that all winners are not good riders, because I'm sure there are people who win that worked hard for it. And I'm not saying that winning at shows is the only way to prove you're a good rider. I'm just saying that it really gets under my skin when people jump to conclusions. I'm not jealous of the fact that she gets everything handed to her because her family has the money to do so, because I like the satisfaction I get when hard work pays off. I am a little jealous of the opportunities that she gets such as lessons with high level eventers and any show she wants to go to. Mostly, I would just like it if people gave credit where credit is due. 99% of the pair is the horse, not the rider. It's a great horse, and a rider that can stay on and remember the course...

I know that when you start comparing yourself to other horses and riders, you get to be in a danger zone. The days when I get on and have to work through a stubborn, resistant horse to get to the good, are the days when I look over at this other horse that is perfect from the get go and think "if only..". In the end, seeing this horse inspires me to work harder, "One day, I will be able to get on and my horse will look like that". Whether or not it's true, oh well, it gets me through the rough days. At the end of the week, my horse is always going to be 10x better than when I got her, so there's always that.

Muppetgirl 10-12-2012 10:17 PM

I totally get it.....
A couple of my friends, as children were given the most horrendous horses and ponies to ride because their family couldn't afford a 'nice' horse or lessons, so they struggled through the years to get the job done ...and they have become superb riders because they were constantly challenged, and their perseverance payed off.

On the other hand, there are some people who have a nice horse, loads of lessons and are really quite nice riders because of it. They're talented in the show ring and the arena, but have not had to deal with some quite confounding horse issues ever before. However, still quite nice little riders in a technical way.

I get what you mean. If life gives you lemons make lemonade.....or else squirt the juice in your enemies eyes!:lol:

Ashsunnyeventer 10-12-2012 10:21 PM

I'm glad you get it. I was worried that people might think I was being a brat and just complaining because I didn't have a perfect horse. The harder the horses you ride, the easier it will be to ride different horses. I think of it like each horse is different and you have to use different tools on each one. This adds to your tool box and you can use the tool box to help with other horses. Some people don't have a tool box with a lot of variety :) And I like what you said about the lemonade lol :)

EvilHorseOfDoom 10-12-2012 10:37 PM

Been there before! To be honest, I wouldn't be envious of the opportunities this girl gets, she isn't getting the opportunity to become a better horsewoman or the satisfaction that you get when all your blood, sweat, tears and bruises pay off in your horse's training. Brock has made me a far better horsewoman (in the saddle and on the ground) and I've learned so much. I was determined not to get a push button horse because I wanted to improve my own skills, and he has provided me with this wonderful opportunity.

You are the lucky one, in a way, because you don't have the easy route.Ever played a computer game and used cheatcodes? It becomes boring very quickly and you're not a better player at the end of the day. She won't learn how to turn a problem horse into a dream horse and will constantly have to pay more and more to move up the levels - which will of course end up with her not forming the wonderful bond with a horse that we, by necessity, must to get anywhere. Which is pretty sad.

Tracer 10-12-2012 10:58 PM

I can't wait for the day when the girl gets a greener horse. A lot of people have been spoilt I think, learning on high quality horses that don't put a foot wrong.

Take me for example. I grew up not knowing what leg aids were, and on horses that didn't know what they were. This is something that has honestly benefited me, because it means that I can get on and control a horse that doesn't know them, as well as one that does. I've ridden ridiculously stubborn/lazy horses, so I know how to get a horse going when it doesn't want to.

Both of these things become apparent when I go trail riding and see girls in lovely breeches and boots trying to control the follow the leader horses. They aren't used to giving a horse a boot when it doesn't want to go. They 'tap tap tap' and give up. They put leg on to avoid a tree, the horse runs them into it anyway. Me, I make the horse respect me and make it realize that I'm not another sack of potatoes on its back and that I am in charge, even if we will just be following along for most of the ride.

That girl should be jealous of you, OP, because you're the one who will be able to hop onto almost any horse and be able to handle it for more than 10 minutes without giving up. She might be able to ride the $30k horse, but you can ride the $30k horse AND the OTTB.

Ashsunnyeventer 10-12-2012 11:01 PM

Thanks for the comment Tracer, you were describing the difference between a rider and a passenger. And I know what you mean about the "butterfly kicks"- just wiggling their toes around till the horse gets fed up and takes a step. Inside I'm screaming "Just kick the horse already!!!"

caseymyhorserocks 10-13-2012 12:29 AM

Yeah.. when I was younger I knew someone who had the most amazing horses and would always do amazing at shows, her horse would jump anything she ask. Years later after more education I realized the horse's head was being put into a pretty position, he hadn't been truly taught getting on the aids.

A good rider makes a good horse. A good horse doesn't make a good rider.

BarrelRacer23 10-13-2012 12:30 AM

This reminds me of a conversation me and a western pleasure trainer had awhile back basically it comes down to "your only as good as the horse your on". I seriously don't think people thought I knew how to ride like I do until this year. Even though I was always riding colts and working with colts my main horse wasn't the best barrel horse and we ran 3D times mostly, or slower. Finally bought a really nice prospect and trained him myself, now we are consistently in the 2D at pretty much every show. I have people who have never talked to me before telling me how nice my horse is and well he's doing. Alot of people don't understand that there's a difference in being a jockey to athe well brokeI horse and being a good rider able to handle anything. Im proud to have worked for where I am and like you I'm not jealous. I like the satisfaction that my work is paying off.
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Nevreme 10-13-2012 12:40 AM

All I have to say is...yes.

There is one family at my barn (three sisters) who get special treatment. I honestly don't know if it's intentional by my instructor or not, but I'm not about to ask since I've only been there for a year. But these girls will constantly arrive at the barn in new breeches, new half chaps, new helmets, and with Dover bags stuffed full of new things. Not a single one of them owns, or even leases, though they certainly have the money for it. The two older girls are given first pick every time we get a new horse in, and if they like it that's it. No one else gets to ride it until they've moved on.

We have a horse that was basically bought for the oldest girl; a lovely eventer who is nicer than half the horses we have put together. The middle sister has gone through three horses in the past year, and is now riding the most expensive horse in the barn; a gelding easily worth $100k+ if he was totally sound. I'll give it to the youngest though, the kid loves a challenge. The buckers are her favorites. But she still gets to ride whoever she wants, whenever she wants. Everything is handed to them. It drives me crazy.

@Tracer: haha, I was the opposite! I learned to ride on horses that spooked in five directions at once and bolted at the slightest scare. I can stick to the saddle and stop nearly anything. Granted, I did have a really hard couple months learning to actually use my leg correctly, but now I can ride a kick-a-long horse or a flighty bolter.

AlexS 10-13-2012 03:23 AM

I personally believe that jealousy is the ugliest emotion.

You basically feel jealous because she has a better horse, and is thought of as a better rider because of the horse. If she didn't have the income, you likely wouldn't feel badly towards her as she would be trying to do what you are doing and bringing on a lesser horse. It's nothing short of being jealous.

You will keep encountering this. When I was younger I had a very special horse. She was competing against high level ponies, except that my horse had to do a few classes each show the other girls showed up with 4 horses and had a fresh horse each class.
As you move up in the levels, the thing you are complaining about gets worse and worse. Girls don't just have one nice horse they have 6.

The way to deal with this is to either win the lottery, or look at your own moral convictions and not worry about what someone else is doing and simply focus on yourself and your horse.

There will always be people in life with more than you. What you do with that information will make you as a person. Do you work harder, or do you just be envious?

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