Keep pushing the lesson horse
Unfortunately I couldn't haul my horses in due to the weather so I took lessons couple times on "lesson" horses. To keep horses moving even on slow trot I should push (well, squeeze) his sides all the time (any time I went up on posting). I really disliked the lessons because I was ONLY concern about keeping it trotting, not enough time to think about my position or anything else plus I have problems with legs and back from this really strong push (anything slighter didn't work at all). Is it normal for the lesson horses?
ive always found that from lesson horses. they are usually used to following other horses and sometimes alot of them are used alot for younger children who dont have alot of muscle strength so they learn to get away with things. im sure other members have more information but i would say that majority of lesson horses are like this (i have ridden at one stable where their lazy horses are quicker then the faster, more obiedient horses at the stable i am at right now).
Yes, generally lesson horses are 'hard'. They have many different people on their backs and everyone rides differently. They tend to find the work boring and predictable, so they will try to take advange of their rider and do the smallest amount of work possible. Fortunately most horses can be cured of this by having long breaks from lessons or by being sold to a single owner. We've had many horses like this where I teach.
Unfortunately a lot of those horses are dead to the leg because of the amount of beginner riders who ride them and essentially wreck them. A lot of these poor horses are also over worked (sometimes a few lessons a day) so their stamina might not be in top shape.
I feel sorry for most of them. They have a very hard life and most people don't respect them for what they are. And tend to be neglected more than anything and honestly, if i were in their position I dont know that I would act differently.
Aww that is too bad. I agree with what everyone has written up there but I also think that if horses are starting get bored and "dead to the leg" the barn owners should do something about it. The people paying for the lessons, and I think you might fit in here, who are more advanced don't want to pay to ride the school horse who needs nagging to stay in trot etc. Maybe you can discuss with the owners about rotating the horses, taking them on trails, breaking the riding school routine etc Keeping them fresh and interested in their work, otherwise riders will get sick of this and leave the barn!
I work in a school barn and I think part of it is that most school horses are choosen because of their "lazy nature" so that they can be trusted with young and inexperience riders.
Ask your instructor if there is another horse you could ride that is more willing to move off your leg.
I think it depends on barn a lot though. I was taking lesson 7 years back in very reputable barn in area (for couple months before I moved). The instructor was awesome too, but... HORSES were really really good (and it's a very busy barn with lots of lessons every day). I do remember I tried 4 or 5 horses and ALL (except one, which was too forward) were just excellent: went from leg to w/t/c, jumped and so on. I'm not sure how they could achieve that: may be they were just really knowledgeable about assigning horses to the level of the rider, but the lessons were real fun. At this barn I asked about "easier going" horses, but they don't have such. :(
It really depends on the owner of the horse. I have seen both sides. One barn was just horrible, because the only times the lesson horses would leave their stalls was for lessons - no pasture for them (!). Go figure... But I also have had great lesson horses. Some that aren't fully finished, but the trainer "used" me to teach the horse new things too (for example learning the jog, the horse hadn't done it much before). I kind of liked that, because it pushes you too. I am an impatient person by nature, so it teaches me patience and how to handle a horse that isn't fully finished/obedient. It challenges both rider and horse and I find that better than riding around in a circle with 10 other people and doing some figures without really knowing why.
So I say it really depends on the owner and what they do with their horses.
Yes, lesson horses typically need a stronger leg or perhaps a crop too. They have a variety of riders and so have no chance to get used to subtle and specific cues, and often they are with bad or inexperienced riders. You need to be extra clear with what you're asking of them. Also remember that they get a lot of use each day so towards the end they will be less forward and willing.
The lesson horses at my stables back home are amazing, every single one of them. And something I have really found is that you can get a totally different response out of an old plodder once you know more about how to ride them. Jazz was the first horse I rode: we went round in walk and trot, she was an angel at managing this girl who had no idea what she was doing. She's used a lot with total beginners because she's such a sweetie with them. I rode her more recently and from the moment I got on I let her know that a) we would be working today and that b) I was going to ask her to do more than just trot around the arena while someone bumped on her back. We had a great ride. The lesson horses are all capable of more than plodding round; you just need to make it clear that you're asking them to put their best foot forward with you.
What I find is that it's important right from the start to wake the horse up, make them understand that they must work and make sure they're attentive and listening to you. Transitions are great for that.
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