seeking to improve aids! (or is the horse bullying me help) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-17-2020, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Hong Kong
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Unhappy seeking to improve aids! (or is the horse bullying me help)

First off I apologise in advance if there are unclear points/grammatical errors in my post as english is not my first language.

So I have been riding in a riding centre for a year now, and the pony that I'm currently riding has been with me for four months (mainly because he is suitable to help me train my canter), he is around 14hh and does quite some bit of jumping from what I know of. He is very smooth to ride when he wants to be, but he also has a lot of behaviours that I find hard to deal with. He is quite nappy, he absolutely hates going on the right rein, if I would let him walk on a long rein he would change the direction by himself if you do not stop him, it is especially worse when I'm starting out the lesson. He is reluctant to go forward in the first 15 minutes or so, though it can just be him warming up(?) I'm not quite certain since some days he would be very happy to forward, some days he'd be walking and trotting as if he is deep in a swamp and would have me try to get him forwards to the canter for at least 5 minutes straight. When I try to back up my aids with the whip on his hindquarters he would either kick out at the whip or try bucking, and if I use it on his shoulder he pulls on the trains to try jerking them out of my hands. I am told to deal with these with harder leg aids and a firm grip on the reins, and if he doesn't comply and keeps misbehaving, to have a slight jerk on the reins. After he's warmed up it is as if a switch has been flipped in him, he almost goes out of control sometimes by the end of the lesson and just flies off with me on him (especially if we have been doing some polework/small jumps) where I cannot get him to slow down or stop as pressure on the reins would make him go off even more so usually I just let him go off and I stay on him as relaxed as I can be (I don't know if that is right from a schooling standpoint, but it is what I opted to do because he will calm down on his own if I let him be and stop agitating him? I have no idea to be honest) I personally dislike punishing the horse as it is probably just my incompetence that caused them to be confused and frustrated (and from what I have read, it is not effective) but it has become something that I am very desperate to fix as I'm being told to do polework and small jumps, where I have fallen off him because of his antics. So I would like to know what I should be/shouldn't be doing with him.

Sidenote: When my instructor rides him he does not do this, at least nowhere near the extent he does with me, so that's why I think it's my incompetence that has led him to only do this when I'm the one on the saddle.

I appreciate any sort of help and I'll be happy to give more information that will help in diagnosing(?) the problem with me. Have a nice day!
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-17-2020, 07:57 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
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Overall, honestly, I think you need a new lesson barn. Why do they keep putting you on a horse that sometimes just takes off with you at the end of the lesson ...? Not safe and they shouldn't continue to do that,,either help you with instruction, or put you on a different horse. It sounds to me like he is burned out on being used for lessons and is also taking advantage of your inexperience, as most horses will do. However, the instructor should be able to help you through that and not let it continue lesson after lesson.

Did they teach you to use the whip on his hindquarters??? And, do they continue to have you do that even though he bucks or kicks in response? I would almost expect a horse to react that way, unless its a light tap with the whip. I was taught to tap the shoulders or my own legs...it's the commotion and noise that encourages more forward, it's not for pain or punishment. Some horses are more likely to interpret being slapped on the rear end as a punishment and react as this horse , others might not be offended. When you use the crop (I'm assuming you're referring to a crop), do you use it in a rhymical manner, or just one slap? Horse respond better to any action done in a rhythm, if that makes sense. So, two or three light taps instead of one strong one might get a better response.

Is there another lesson barn where you could try a couple of lessons to see how it goes? I think most of your issues are because the instructors just aren't being helpful enough for you and/or they don't care that you are struggling and being in unsafe situations. What do they do or say those times when he just takes off with you ???? Have they ever offered to have another horse and rider go ahead of you to encourage your horse to be more willing to go forward ? 15 minutes of struggling to get him to go is a lot of your lesson time and makes for an unpleasant start to your lesson. His refusal to go to the right suggests some physical cause to some of his behavior...have they had him checked by a vet and/or had a Chiro adjustment ? I feel sorry for you and this lesson horse. He sounds quite unhappy and those lessons can't be much fun for you. Learning to ride should be fun,,,challenging, but fun. You don't mention it, but do they help you with things like how to sit, how to use your seat and legs, etc ?

Do they have a different lesson horse you could try ? a different instructor ?

I wish you the best. Stay safe.
Fay
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Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-17-2020, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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I actually already go to another riding school for group lessons at the moment as it is a school activity of sorts where I'm studying, and I ride a show pony there that is really well trained, even with that my aids are ignored sometimes when he wants to join his buddies so that's why I think I can't get them to respect and listen to my aids.

And about the whip I actually got the terms wrong, I meant the haunches(?) on the bum, and that part has stayed consistent across both the schools I go to. Though I think it might be a good idea to not actually make physical contact with the horse that I'm struggling with as it seems he's quite sensitive about it.

To the situations that happens, it doesn't happen all the time (thank god), to me it feels like spinning the roulette wheel before I get on him, as there are days where he would have no problem whatsoever and give me the smoothest ride I could possibly ask for, and well, days that he gives me a "test" of sorts. I find that he likes predicting what I'll do next, he wants to stay ahead of me instead of listening to what I'm asking him to do, for example if I asked him to start the canter in one of the corners he'd always think that he should start cantering whenever he passes the corner, of course I don't let him, but I can feel(?) him preparing to canter or sometimes even doing a few strides when I'm not aware of. I try to discourage him from this by trying to put more variety into what I'm doing the best I could but stuffs likes getting him to do circles and stuffs is really hard when I'm on the left rein since he thinks I'll be asking him to do a change of direction to the right rein which he hates and is stiffer on. He is definitely ring sour no doubt but the strong preference on which rein to go on has been a thing for years from what I know of and they never really stopped trying to work it out, since they do vet checks regularly it would've been addressed of if he had major issues physically. So that's why I think it's a matter of him taking advantage of my inexperience, he is reluctant to do things that are harder for him, but complies if he knows someone experienced is on him.

That is just what I've divulged from my limited knowledge, but it does seem best I don't challenge riding him even if he gives really enjoyable rides sometimes. I've ridden most ponies there, and since they are usually for beginners there aren't much that is suitable to do the canter with, there was a mare I rode before I changed to this one, she does the classic school horse evading thing with aids but is overall easier to handle BUT she has the bumpiest and bounciest canter one could imagine so I never figured out how to sit the canter when I was on her since I was just bouncing all around with her. So it seems I'm only left with horses, and I'm hesitant to request on them, wouldn't it be even harder for me if they decide to go nuts since they are bigger and stronger? Most horses are thoroughbred since here in Hong Kong we have a big racehorse scene there are a lot of ex-racehorses. I just don't feel confident enough that my leg aids would be firm enough to get them going, I have a rather small build since I'm asian, though I'm not particularly frail since I've always done sports, but my leg probably isn't firm enough for it. Should I still request for them?
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-17-2020, 11:27 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Hello! Welcome

My first thought is, since you say it takes a long time for him to warm up, is that he may be older and stiffer. Do you know how old he is? Older ones take longer to warm up, but sometimes wraps on the lower legs can help.

So the next thought is ways you can relax, and move your legs and hands independently of your body. Make sure you are relaxed, and breathing calmly and slowly (people tend to hold their breath when tense or nervous). This will help the pony relax, and listen better.


Try pretending as if you are riding, at home, on a rocking chair if you have one. Rock the chair with just the movement of your hips. That is like the canter. While rocking, you can pretend to turn and give leg aids.

For the pony, it would be nice if he could warm up just by a good marching walk for the first few minutes. Also can practice stopping and backing up, just to get pony listening.

Can you ask the instructor if you can come a little earlier to warm up pony more before asking for harder work?

When riding, try to keep your elbows by your waist. That way you will have more strength and shorter reins if pony gets strong.


The hands should not be constant pulling or tension, should be able to relax the hand a bit when pony is doing well. Practice squeezing the inside rein, a few times then relax. Move the inside hand a bit forward for a second when pony gives to the pressure. That is his reward.


Also I have found some horses and ponies really like it if the rider talks to them. Saying things like Easy, or Good Boy can help at times too.


A video would help a lot, but I guess that is not possible...
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-17-2020, 11:46 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Tell us about this pony's day. Where does he live, does he get any time out on a place he can walk freely about? how many lessons does he give a day? Does he every get a few weeks of 'vacation' out in the countryside?


I know that urban living can mean that there are few opportunities and few choices in your desire to learn equitation. I apprecatiat that you consider yourself in the overall equation of his issues; that you and your skill level may be a factor.


But, first consider his real horse life. If he's been doing this a long time and never has any relief, he can become very sour. Then it becomes hard for you, because you , as a student, can offer him very little real choice either.


His unwillingness to go to the right would most likely be due to a physical issue. He may have had a vet check, but they may not have brought to the vet's attention this issue. I suggest that he has pain somewhere, that is more noticeable going to the right (isn't that the meaning of 'on the right rein'?)


perhaps you can warm him mostly going left, looking for him to relax and become less worried about going right. When he is somewhat warmed up, then try short periods of going the 'difficult' direction. The instant he moves in any way 'nicely' going the hard direction, you turn him around and allow him to go the easy way.



I suppose, however, that being in the sort of school you are in, the instructors will not allow you to do this. you will be stuck going where and when they say to go.
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advice needed , help me out , improvements , problem behavior , question

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