Bit of a Rant (at me! Kicking myself!) *Be warned - Long*
Okay, so my rant is about myself letting someone ride my horse, and now I think it's a huuuge mistake! Apologies, it's looooooong!
Let me set the scene as it were:
-I rent a couple of acres of a much larger field (of which I can make my own, do what I like as regards to fencing, stables Etc) and a few other ladies rent the other portions of the large field.
-I have 2 horses, an OTTB, who I'm retraining and a young AQHA filly, who's just been professionally started. I'm not having a problem exercising either, and neither have been fresh (over excited) if I ever don't ride them as much as I like (usually at least several times a week each, usually more) and both remember their previous lessons and never seem to regress.
Anyway, one of the ladies who rent a portion of the field has an old-ish mare who colicked last year, and since has not been very ridable; has her occasional good days, but mainly un-ridable now (what with going lame, having an infection in her udder/teat, and just generally having ill health).
She also has a yearling.
Now, the older mare was bought a few years ago for the lady's daughter (well, for them to share) [From here I'll called the Mum "S" and the daughter "H", as it's easier] after they loaned her for a while, and they bought the then foal to start once the older mare retired. Anyway, being as the older mare is pretty unridable now, and the yearling is obviously too young to back, neither of them have anything to ride.
We were just chatting one day a few weeks ago, and S genially suggested that maybe H start riding my younger horse (the QH). She said that it would mean H would have a horse to ride, and get used to riding a youngster (as they have intentions of starting their youngster when it is older), she also implied it would do me a favour, as it meant I'd be able to concentrate on one horse, but also know the other wasn't missing out on riding either, and I agreed, it would probably do me a favour (not that I've struggled anyway, but hey, I did think it would mean I could concentrate on one horse's training a little more, but still give both all the attention they need when it comes to caring for them)
So anyway, I've always been under the impression that H was a really good rider and very experienced with all kinds of horses. I've many-a-time heard phrases from S such as "She'll get on anything, she's not worried" and "she sorted our horse out when she first came to us, she was a nightmare" Fair enough, I'm a gullible idiot it seems.
But anyway, I accepted the proposal, still under the impression that H is very experienced, can deal with anything sorta thing. Now, my youngster, Red, is not a naughty horse, she has her moments when she tries it on, fair enough, they all do from time to time, she's still young after all (3 and a half), and you just correct the bad behaviour and reward the good.
The first time H rode my youngster, we were both riding together - that was the whole idea really, so both of us could ride. Anyway, long story short, Red spooked at something, and spun to face my OTTB, in the process, H fell off. Fair enough, everyone gets unseated from time to time, her Mum (S) was there, and H was happy to get back on - hats off to her for that, I know it's difficult when you come off to get back on. I didn't think much of it, because it was her first ride of Red, and they were getting used to each other.
So, I said to H that as she fell off, she didn't have to ride Red again if she didn't want, but she said she did, which at the time, was fine by me. I suggested that next time, just while they were getting used to each other, she ought to ride in my roundpen, and I won't ride my OTTB at the same time so Red is concentrating 100%, she agreed that this was a better idea. I also told H that Red is accustomed to lateral flexion and a 1 rein emergency stop, I told her that if she ever felt out of control again, she could do that, bring Red to a dead halt (I've practice this a million times with Red, I have no doubt that she would respond to it)
So the next time comes, and S is there supervising H and giving her instructions (like when to stop, walk Etc to keep Red thinking) in the roundpen. Looking at H, I could see she had quite a contact with Red's mouth (much more than I'd have, I'm pretty light with my hands nowadays - can't say I always was when I was younger, but now I'm pretty light) but I thought "fair enough, it's how she's used to riding" and gave her advice that she maybe loosen the reins a tad, this happened for about 2 mins and then they were back to very tight. I didn't want to nag, and her Mum was there, and I didn't want to sound bossy. I also pointed out (because they were saying "Walk on" and "Stand") that I click for walk, fast clicks for trot and kiss for canter, and whoa for stop, and advised that they continue with this, as Red is used to it. They didn't do any trotting, which is fine by me, as they were getting used to each other.
I told H that due to me working in the week, if she wanted to ride while I wasn't here, it was fine by me - she knew where all her tack, grooming kit Etc was, but I did say that she ought to be with someone as Red is a young horse, S said that H never rides without her being there anyway, so that's fine.
A few times I came up and they were in the round pen, still saying "Walk on", "stand" Etc, okay, I know old habits die hard, but Red is quite good with voice cues (that she's used to), I barely have to use any leg to ask her when I click, and barely have to do anything to stop except for whoa. But now I could see Red's little face all confused, and H is quite a legger, and rein puller if that makes sense, she's not very subtle with her cues. Anyway, that along with the tight contact of the reins, started making Red stop and back up (something she has been taught to do by applying light pressure to the reins and clicking) S was calling out to H on what she should do (such as "push her on with your legs" "don't let her get away with it" sort of things, when, in my opinion, they were asking the wrong way, and Red was doing, essentially, what she was being asked.
Next session, the next thing I know, S is leading H around on Red... Why? Apparently because they couldn't stop her from backing up, and this was the only way. Right, okay, I was getting pretty mad by this point, but didn't want to sound like a b*tch by putting my two pence in to what they should really be doing. Plus, my Mum had come down to see the horses with me, and I didn't want to sound like a b*tch in front of her either! Oh, and they also wanted to put their saddle on Red because they prefer it to mine. Well, tough poop sisters, you're not replacing my western saddle for your treeless trek saddle that was made in India. Nope, no thank you.
I rode Red a couple days after, just to see if it was making a difference. She had regressed a LOT. Stopping abruptly, and generally taking the pee (because they've let her - young horses do take the mick, and you correct them, and reward them when they do the right thing!) Anyway, after using my leg and voice cues to no avail, I gave her one smart crack with the reins (not in a mean way, but in a "I mean business, lady!" kinda way) after that she knew she couldn't take the pee, and was my perfect little Red again.
Since then H hasn't ridden because S has been out of town, and H has been less preoccupied with horses (hers or mine) because she is preoccupied with her boyfriend. And you know what, I'm so glad! I feel really mean because I did agree to her riding Red, but so far it is NOT doing me a favour, at all! And it's certainly not doing Red a favour, I mean, she's only been riding her a couple of weeks and she regressed a LOT, luckily once she knew I meant business she was better, but I mean, next time, what if she doesn't, and I'm stuck with a remedial horse! Gah, I wish I'd never agreed. And now I'd feel so mean by trying to get out of it.
Anyway, sorry for the long rant, please no mean comments to do with how stupid I've been letting her ride Red, it's done now, and I know I'm an idiot for it.
So did you tell her the rides are done?
Well at least you realize it wasn't your finest decision! Lol. How old is this kid? Your post makes her seem very young. I would just talk to them and say, "Hey, I've been thinking about our arrangement and I think it might be best if you stop riding Red, I don't want anyone to get hurt and be held responsible, I'm sorry it didn't work out." If they pitch a fit, well, tough. It's your horse. Good luck!
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This is why no one rides my horse, unless they are essentially taking lessons from me that way I can control exactly how they ride him.
I'd suggest you do the same, especially with a young horse who is trying to learn herself!
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The girl is a teenager, 15ish I think, young, but I didn't think it would make her this "novice-y"! Especially the way she's been described to me, but I guess kids do nothing wrong in their mother's eyes. I'm a fairly young rider myself, so thought I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. Bad idea! And Loves, this is the first time ever, normally I am SO over protective of who rides my horses. I won't be doing it again any time soon, that's for sure! ricci, that's a good idea, I might just be using that one to get out of the situation!
or tell her that your cues are different & the mare seemed a little confused when you rode her so for now on only you will be riding her.
Since you do see and deal with these people often, I would refrain from being insulting. Who knows, you may need someone to feed your horses one night! Lol. I would stick with the liability reason. It is in both your best interests, if the kid or your horse gets hurt, and as you aren't lawyers or want to pay a lawyer to write up a waiver, it's easier to just stop.
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Yeah, good idea, I mean, I want us all to get one, I like them both... but not on my horse! Why did I decide to do this?? Why!? I'm never letting other people ride my horses again! :p
If I were to let anyone I don't know really well for their riding skills, ride my horse, then i would happen only after a test ride, during which I'd observe everything very carefully and would not any other rides happen if I didn't agree with even the sligthest thing.
Good luck with your young horse, Holly, I am sure you will get her tuned up real soon again. :)
Thanks Saranda, that is a very good idea (although the whole situation has made me even more crazy about anyone doing anything with my horses!) but I'll bear it in mind for next time - if ever - I decide to let someone other than me, ride!
Luckily, being as she's been preoccupied with her boyfriend, and the weather's been a little sucky, she's not ridden her since I saw her being led round like a kids pony (heck, I think kids' ponies got led around less!) so I'm soooo relieved, they're also looking to buy an in-between horse, taking the pressure off me to stick to my word of letting her ride Red - good heavens, I hope they find a good horse soon before H wants to ride Red again!
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