She's going down a bad road...
A woman at my barn used to ride as a kid, took her standard 15 years of so off to raise her family and is now getting back into riding as a 40 something year old. She fell in love with an OTTB. While they do have a noticeably good bond with each other, she's a fairly timid rider and he's quick to take advantage of her weaknesses. She seems aware that she's slightly overfaced and keeps asking me for advice and training help. I am not a trainer and am extremely lucky to have found an unusually sweet and willing OTTB for my own horse. Where I don't want to take on someone else's problems, I do try to help her keep her confidence up. Lately she's been talking more about doing more ground schooling with him. She's getting dangerously close to being one of those people who uses the idea of bonding with her horse to avoid actually riding it which the horse really needs. Does anyone have any advice on how I can get her butt back into the saddle? I think she's only at a slight disadvantage at this point, but that gap will widen a lot if this horse is not exercised properly.
We had the same problem with a lady that used to board her horse at our barn. I ended up excersising her horse for her bacause she was too timid and the gelding was way smart and knew it. She ended up selling him. maybe you could work the horse for her before she got on and show her how to handle him and show how he good he could be under saddle? im not really sure. maybe she shud just get a gentleer horse
If it's too much horse for her then just "bonding" with it is a great idea for her. What I would suggest is that she find a teenager or a young adult to ride and show it for her. Let her do all the ground stuff she wants. I know several people who have done that, my mom included. They've bought horses that are "pretty" and they really love them. But the time spent in the saddle is minimal. My mom rides just a few times a year but she has a 12 year old and a 16 year old that come out and ride them and show them. I ride and show them as well on occassion but I have my own horses. I have another friend that loves her horse but she's terrified of her (riding that is). So she pays her trainer to ride and show the horse.
As long as they pay the bills and the horse is healthy... who cares? Although it is always a shame to see a fine animal not being ridden or shown...which is wear teenyboppers come in. The other great thing is, by the time they've spent a few years riding and loving your horse and they head off to college, the horse is that much safer for the beginner owner to ride. (that is, if you have decent kids riding the horse).
I've thought about offering to ride him, but I come up just short of taking that step. I got my first and only horse at age 40 with a healthy dose of knowing how far down the ground is and fearing not being able to work and support myself. I chose the horse that I did because he was so calm and gentle. Perhaps she does need someone to work with her horse, but I think that's better left for a trainer.
I'm just a tad short of this, I KNOW I have to get back in the saddle even if its a little intimidating, and as soon as I get my new saddle pad so my tack actually fits my horse, I'm going to get back on him and start over :) ice is also an OTTB, and my problem has always been that I ask him to trust me more than I trust him. We were doing awesome for awhile, and then I took a dump and it surprised me more than anything, which in turn shot my confidence on him to crap.
Granted, these two months I've spent on the ground with him have helped him and myself a lot. He's a much calmer and more level headed horse (at least in the round pen) and he definitely respects me more than he did. I know what he's capable of and I know that if I'm ready for it, I can handle it no problem.
The first stride is always going to be the longest though.
Why does the horse need to be ridden? I'm sure some stimulating ground work, learning tricks, ground driving, lunging, and double lunging would be adequate exercise, even for an OTTB. As long as it gets turn out, of course. I just don't see why her not wanting to ride is a bad road...
As farmpony said, the lady obviously loves her horse, and you know he'll be taken care of, so who cares if she never rides? If she wants, she can find someone to ride him for her. Yes, it's nice to have an actual trainer ride, but there are tons of young women [and probably men too] that could work really well with this horse without the "trainer" title, and they'd be a lot cheaper, sometimes even free! Being one of those young adults that everyone scoffed at because I was simply too young to know anything, I have to stand by my fellow underestimated youth. =]
farmpony84: Did you write that poem? It's beautiful. I live in Idaho and see that every spring/summer. It's a beautiful way of life. A friend visited me from Massachusetts and as we drove through 30 miles of GORGEOUS rolling farmland with the snake river twisting below she declared "what is this desolate, empty, dismal area"? WHAT? These people KILL themselves to feed people ... a most primal need ... to grow food and feed people. It broke my heart.
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