Lurking around here for weeks -Need all the help you will give
I am 43 and have been riding for 6 years on and off. I start, get a scare, stop, get courageous and start again.
Have been riding at my current barn for 3 years and decided it was time to buy another horse (we won't even get into the first two). So Zoregon it was (as per my avatar). 7 years old, green broke W/T/C. Came and saw him 3 times, rode him, all was well so bought him.
Day 1 - he broke through 3 fences at my barn, manure smelled 'funny'
Day 2 - broke through 2 fences, jumped a third, crawled under a fourth, over a bridge, down the road, found 5 kms away in an apple field. The only conclusion was that he had been heavily drugged every time I went.
I have worked with him for a year started with following him around the paddock holding a lunge line. Put 4 months professional training into him. Wanted to sell him so many times but my trainer keeps saying there is a good horse in there. Problem is, I'm afraid. I ride him for a week or two, get scared then stop. Because he is green, when I start up again (usually 3 weeks later I appear) I have to start all over with lunging etc. not to mention my trainer is usually angry because I put him on ignore. I have been off for another 3 weeks because she wants me to start cantering him. I have the skill to ride him, not the confidence or trust. So to finally get to my question. Can someone overcome their fears? He is a good horse although he spooks at the cats (four steps and stops) but scares me to death. I can't sell him, who would buy a horse that runs away? (there are many more stories about him, but in the interest of it not taking you an hour to read my post, I have left them out). Any and all advice is solicited and welcomed!
Sure a person can overcome their fear. It often helps to have some motivation.
If you bought a horse to enjoy as a hobby, I can't imagine what your motivation will be.
How about trading this green horse for an older (late teens, early 20s) mount that you can ride 5 times a week, or leave out for a few months and he or she will always be the same trustworthy horse?
You probably can but the question is why would you want to keep a horse that isn't a pleasure to own? It's wonderful your trainer thinks there's a good horse in there but in the meantime you're the one getting slammed. There is a horse for everyone and he may runaway with you but not someone else. Have your trainer get him sale ready and re home him.
I've decided I don't bounce or heal as well as I used to. My next horse is a big, sweet, fuzzy draft rescue. Ride safe!
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you could and should get a safer older schooled horse to help get over your fear
First of all, welcome to the forum! You ride for pleasure & a hobby, no one is paying you, right? Let that horse go to someone who can handle him and get the "good" horse out of him. As for you, since ownership hasn't gone well for you, find a lease horse or take lessons until a nice horse falls in your lap. Don't go looking, too many bad ones out there disguised as good ones.
Pfft, yes I keep finding the bad ones! Problem is this - how do I sell a horse that runs away (literally), won't stay in his stall without the three, yes three strands of chain plus his door is chained as well and will run you over because he has no understanding of his size? Once your on him he's fine, but geez!
And you are all right, I bought him to have some fun, get exercise and compete at low level dressage shows. I shudder to think what would happen if I took him off a trailer at a show
I ended up buying a retired polo horse in her early 20's. She does nothing "scary" but has enough "go" in her to make riding her a ton of fun. She challenges me at times but it is making me a better rider. When I first bought her, I was terrified when she would "test" me. I was just waiting for her to throw me like the other horses had. I took 6 weeks of confidence building lessons on her and quickly learned she is one of those horses that will NOT buck or rear. The worst thing she does is a quick turn and about 5 steps into a bolt. Once I realized that was the worst she had to offer, I learned to deal with it and anticipate when she was going to try it. Now she knows I won't let her get away with it and we have a wonderful partnership.
The bottom line is that when we reach a certain age, we need to make sure that our riding is enjoyable and safe because we don't bounce like we used to. I definitely break...and I want to enjoy every minute with my horse....not be scared.
Just keeping trying to sell the horse, he is the right horse for someone, in the meantime, be careful and keep working with him & your trainer. Look at it as work toward your investment to sell him. Might make you feel better about riding & working him.
Been there, done that about 6 years ago. I had a beautiful, athletic horse that had been unreliable and needed someone who wanted to put a lot of time into him, who was a more confident rider. I admitted, finally, that I wasn't having fun with him and realized that I had been so tense around him that I was actually teaching him anxiety...so found him a good home where they spent the time that he needed. I then found a 12 year old steady-eddy trail horse who's the same every day you ride her, whether it's the next day or the next month - or even longer. Best decision I ever made. If you want a project, keep him. If you want to ride and show, buy a horse that can take you there in a reasonable time. If your trainer likes this guy, sell him to her! or let her sell him for you! Good luck, and be safe!
Could always find some brave teen who knows horses and is willing to come get those "stupid" moments out for you. That's currently my job.
I get a lot of "this" at the moment
and don't really require a lot of maintenance for it. Your trainer too, maybe ask him/her to work a lot on desensitizing. I'd imagine if the horse had four months of training it would be time to start expecting a little more, depending on how that training went of course. You said dressage, so I'm assuming you ride English. If you are scared of him, maybe find yourself a cheap western saddle to ride in at the barn. You can school an English horse in a western saddle, it won't kill them or deteriorate any training and it gives you a little more security.
I do agree with the others though that this horse sounds like a little too much for you. I wouldn't buy another green horse if I were you, I'd go out and find something a little older who is well schooled. They tend to be more expensive than a greenie but well worth it. I'd go mad without my two good horses since I have colts to ride now. You can always state in the ad you put out "Green, experienced rider, prospect." and someone will come along eventually, it just may take awhile. Just keep the ad up while you work with him.
The fact that you recognize your fear and understand that is the problem is really the first step. I'm not sure if it's worse to be fearful and overhorsed, or overhorsed and fearless. Either way is pretty bad, but hopefully your trainer can help you overcome this in the mean time.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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