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VACowgirl 08-14-2011 10:51 AM

Confidence Issue
I recently started Western lessons and yesterday was my second. The first lesson was great and the trainer definitely used a "trial by fire" approach - I got up to a canter over some ground poles and did well. Yesterday I rode the same horse, a teenage Quarter and he wasn't in the mood for riding! When I got on, he immediately tried to buck me off. Then he wouldn't listen to my commands. The instructor told me to smack his butt, kick as hard as I could to get him to trot and he just wouldn't. So she got on him to see if he was okay, and as SOON as she got on he started trotting.

She said, "Well, what do you think the problem is here?" Then she said I'm too "wishy-washy" and that I have to "be one with the horse" and find that "anger" inside me so he'll obey. I know horses can tell when the rider is hesitant or scared and they'll take advantage of you...but it was only my second lesson!! Of course I'm going to be a little hesitant. What am I doing wrong? The horse obviously trusted the instructor, but not me.

Also, how long did it take everyone to figure out how to tack? My instructor got irritated with me yesterday because I didn't know how. It's a lot to remember very quickly! :?

Thanks everyone! :)

Dresden 08-14-2011 12:11 PM

For your second lesson you are doing very well. I have been riding for years and I still sometimes have to stand back and look real hard at the saddle to figure out if its too far forward or back. It takes time to learn to tack and build confidence.

To be very blunt if your instructor is getting irritated and throwing that sort of attitude at your 2nd lesson she needs to learn some patience or not teach beginners. You might want to consider a new instructor.

And of course he obeyed her! She isn't brand new to this. You are having normal beginner problems. Sorry, I don't have a lot of patience for instructors who get annoyed with beginners. Its a good way to turn people off riding.
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VACowgirl 08-14-2011 01:01 PM

Thank you so much! I was definitely starting to become discouraged. After yesterday's lesson, I thought, "Do I really want to do this?" But I had a feeling I wasn't the problem. I think I'll find an instructor who has more patience and isn't trying to get me killed, ha! I appreciate it :)

LovesMyDunnBoy 08-14-2011 01:10 PM

An impatient instructor is no fun, just make sure that experience doesn't change your mind about riding :) you are a beginner, of course you won't be completely confident about riding yet. I still have trouble feeling confident on a horse I don't know very well. But remember, if the horse can tell you are unsure, they feel that they can do what they want. Make sure you are firm yet calm when riding. Even if it upsets you don't show emotion or frustration just keep a poker face ;) good luck with lessons!
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MyBoyPuck 08-14-2011 04:43 PM

It's completely normal and also wise to not push a horse's buttons that you don't know very well. I wouldn't expect a new rider to be anything but timid the first few times. Confidence takes awhile to come. Once you feel more in control up there, you'll have the capacity to push the horse a little.

Most school horses love to test new riders, so don't feel at all bad about that. The first 3 I rode were of the "make me" variety. Years later I still hate slow stubborn horses. I'll take hot and forward any day! Hang in there. You'll do fine. If you don't feel comfortable with how your instructor is teaching you, there are plenty more out there.

haleylvsshammy 08-14-2011 05:25 PM

I agree with everyone else, if you feel your instructor is getting irritated with you I would find a new one. Considering it was only your second lesson she doesn't have any reason to be frustrated with you. I agree with Puck, school horses definitely know how to test their riders! I took a couple of jumping lessons last year on school horses before I took them on my horse and I remembered how knowledgeable school horses are when it comes to getting out of work!

Just remember to be firm with your horse and tell them what you want. Don't even think that they might not do it, think positively and then you'll get the job done! Beginner school horses are most often very calm and cooperative (when you can get them to listen) so don't be afraid to be a little bit more firm than you'd like, but make sure you start out as softly as you can. And if you are nervous about the horse don't be afraid to ask the instructor if the horse gets ticked by a certain thing. Good luck and have fun!

Corporal 08-18-2011 12:59 PM

Testing a rider is not appropriate when it includes: bucking, rearing, biting, striking or kicking. BAD school horse. BAD instructor.
Testing a rider can include: will not pick up a trot, or canter, or canter correct lead or avoids poles on the ground or a jump because the horse wasn't correctly reined.
A GOOD lesson horse may be slow to respond but WILL build a novice rider's confidence.

Darrin 08-18-2011 01:12 PM

There's an old saying out there for horse that is also is true for riding instructors: There's to many good one out there to put up with a bad one.

Find yourself a better instructor.

tinyliny 08-18-2011 02:33 PM

MY question is if that was only your second lesson, with cantering on your first, and over ground poles, . . how long have you been riding , period?

If you are new to riding in general, that is WAY WAY WAY too much to throw at a beginner. That instructor has no common sense and sounds like someone who will put you in a place where you might end up hurt.
Is that how you want to learn to ride?

ChristophersCanter 08-18-2011 02:52 PM

I think that's very unfair of your instructor. Even at different barns they may have a different way of tacking, but the basics are the same. But hey, everyone makes mistakes! She should definately not be saying all those things to you, especially if it's only your second lesson. She could've said it a lot more nicely, and to be honest, that makes me very mad all around. I don't understand people who think that it's okay to say anything like that to anyone, beginner or advanced, because the horse is NOT a machine. It has a brain of its own. Stick with it, and maybe find a new instructor. I know that for me, a bad instructor is not enough to keep me away from horses:)

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