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Heelsdown 12-11-2012 06:30 PM

Trainer taking advantage or is this commonplace?
I'm in my 2nd year of lessons, however with only riding once a week, sometimes less and being 41, I'm moving at a snail's pace, lol. I ride english and western but these days prefer english. I can walk and trot no problem, and I'm working on the canter. I can't do more than a few strides. I know basic commands and I'm working on things like leg yields and just overall technique. So I think I'm a solid advanced beginner. I'm not a total newb obviously but I still put myself in the beginner category.

I was under the impression that beginners always ride seasoned lesson horses. Lately my trainer has been putting me on very green horses. They have been broke but they are still green. They are 3 years old, very new under saddle, and just very hard to manage. I feel like I'm all over the arena fighting with the horse. She said that it's good for me to learn but honestly, I'm don't feel like I advance much in these lessons. My fear level starts rising and I'm frustrated the whole time. I feel like I truly advance when I'm riding the more seasoned horses.

I suddenly got the feeling last week that I'm paying to break horses. Like I'm paying her and helping to break in her horses. But I wanted to ask here if this was something I should be doing at this point. I always read green + green= black and blue. So that tells me I should not be riding green horses. But I don't want to assume my trainer to doing anything wrong if this is common. What do you all think?

JustDressageIt 12-11-2012 07:01 PM

Have you spoken to your instructor about your feelings? Ie that you're scared/nervous and frustrated? Riding greenies can definitely be trying and frustrating, but after a certain time you do want to be taught to handle more challenging mounts.. But that's not to say you should be doing so right now if you don't feel ready to..
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MyBoyPuck 12-11-2012 07:07 PM

Yeah, I always fought with that paying to train other people's horses too. I think what it comes down to is, which do you prefer? The boring "been there done that" lesson horse or do the ones with a little spice to them light you up?
I suppose ideally it would be nice if there were more really good school horses out there, but most barns usually have some less than ideal mounts for some riders. In my opinion, the biggest difference between riding a schoolmaster versus a green horse is the difference between getting by as a passenger versus actively riding/training the horse every step of the way.

If these greener horses are making your nervous, just talk to you instructor and ask her to put you back on some more steady horses until you are ready for more of a challenge. I totally understand the 40's thing in terms of self preservation. You know better than anyone, including your trainer, if you're game for more horse.

SlideStop 12-11-2012 07:07 PM

Tell her you don't want to ride greenies because your scared and you don't feel like your progressing. There is a fine line between a challenge and inappropriate. For example I love using one pony at my barn who turns people who sit on horse who people who RIDE. She tests and acts like a pony but when you get it right she couldn't be a better lesson pony! Unless you have a solid WTC down there is NO reason for you to be riding naughty greenies. Especially 3 year olds as they are still physically immature and its extremely easy to give them bad habits..

Just a thought, my barn insurance won't cover lesson horses under 6. I guess they view that a safe age. Her insurance might be similar.
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Muppetgirl 12-11-2012 07:21 PM

Hmmmm you could see this as a blessing or not......I worked with a reining trainer and I was very very green, could ride, but not on a draped rein and I never had formal instruction.......every horse I was on was 5 and under...mostly 3 year olds.......and I did learn a whole lot!!!

Perhaps you could ask for walk/trot instruction on these younger horses for a few lessons then progress to the canter......perhaps they are very sensitive (as young ones are) or perhaps they need you to over-emphasize your cues (as is the case with a lot of youngsters)........

Perhaps your instructor is trying to get you on a variety of horses to expand your skills.......if she didn't trust you on her youngsters she wouldn't put you on them....and if she trusts her youngsters she wouldn't put you on goes both ways......

Don't be fearful, see it as an opportunity........:-)

MyBoyPuck 12-11-2012 07:23 PM

Kind of along with what Muppetgirl said, the first time you do successfully work a green horse through a "moment" and produce a beautiful result, it is one heck of a rush.

Heelsdown 12-11-2012 07:44 PM

I can definitely see the benefits of riding a green horse. But I think I'm going to tell her to keep me on older horses for now. I have definitely gotten past wanting a dead head. I can't stand a dead broke horse. I do like a horse with some spice.

But I've found there is a difference between a seasoned horse who challenges you just outside your comfort zone and a young green horse who just flat out doesn't know what he's doing. I think the unknown is what I don't like. All I keep thinking is that as far as they know this horse won't bolt, buck or rear. But if he's only been under saddle for 6 months, how do I know he won't do this?

I know what is tainting my view is that right now she's very short on help. Two girls quit and IMO there are way more horses than there are hands. So I feel more like I'm being used as a warm body to help train the horse. I could be totally wrong and I don't want to assume anything but I just get that feeling. I just wanted to see if it was common for green riders to be on green horses.

I have to say, being on the younger horses has totally driven away any thoughts of buying a one when the time comes I do buy. I found some dream breeds of mine that of course, are much cheaper as colts and I thought, "Hmmm maybe I can afford that Gypsy Vanner or Lippizan if I buy one young and then I'll help break it in and we'll learn together! Weeeee! This will be fun!" lol. so much for that idea! So I guess it IS a good thing she put me on the young horses. Shattered that dream like a dropped mirror! LOL

People aren't kidding when they recommend an older horse as a first horse. There is such a difference between a horse that knows the ropes, isn't a dead head, but one that knows what it's doing and knows how to focus on my cues versus one that is looking all over the place and has total attention deficit disorder. It's a bit unnerving for this old bird.

I think I'll be honest with her. I was talking to a friend recently that I knew in high school. She used to a be a pretty darn good rider. She had a bad fall in her 20s and hasn't been on a horse since. She won't even get on a old broke horse these days. She's done with horses. It breaks my heart hearing that. I don't want that to be me. As much as I want to advance, I need to find that balance between moving outside my comfort zone but stopping short of just flat out being scared, know what I mean?

Thank you all for answering my question though. I really do like my trainer and I started wondering if she really thought she was helping me advance or she was inadvertently putting me harm's way because she's too short on help to break in all of these horses she bought last year. I'm glad to know it's at least common for greenies to ride greenies even if it's not for me.

Joe4d 12-11-2012 08:27 PM

tell her you will be glad to help her train her horses, however you wont be paying her for the privilege.

MyBoyPuck 12-11-2012 09:38 PM

Sounds like a good decision. Your concerns are well thought out and you know your limitations. That all being said, don't discount all young horses. My first horse was a just turning 5 OTTB. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, learns very quickly and is my best buddy. I'll take a young one with a good mind over an older already screwed up one any day.

Celeste 12-11-2012 09:47 PM

It is fine to ride a green horse if you are confident enough to do so; however, the money is flowing the wrong direction. If you are training a horse, you should be getting paid. It sounds like your trainer is taking money from clients to train their horses and then letting you pay her for the privilege of doing the work. I would call her hand on this one.

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