New rider, confused about recent experience at lesson. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 02:34 PM
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I'd move on. This is not your fault in any way. This riding school comes across as highly unprofessional.

You're paying for lessons and should be provided with a safe, healthy and well-trained horse that suits your ability.

The horse needs to be healthy and happy in his work. He should've been pulled from lessons until his issues were fixed. If they can't care for them, then safety issues arise, such as rearing.

Communication is extremely important as an instructor and they should be more than happy to answer any questions and not dismiss them like they are irrelevant. Whether it's teeth, training or anything else, asking is the only way to learn. Imagine what she or any of the other instructors will be like during a lesson. Anyway, it's sounds like she didn't want to acknowledge a problem.

You were a new customer and you were left to handle a rearing horse and told off for not following conflicting instructions. The instructor should've taken over and dealt with him. There's time in the future to be fighting with a horse and during your first few formal lessons isn't one of them, regardless of your experience.

They shouldn't be arguing in front of a customer. There's a time and place to discuss issues and that's behind closed doors with the rest of the instructors and boss.
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post #12 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 02:35 PM
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I think you need a new trainer! Are there any other local lesson barns? It sounds (from what you described), as if they do NOT know what they are doing. It's much easier to learn things the right way, versus learning them the wrong way and having to learn a whole new way all over again. I would be shopping for barns. A lesson horse should not be rearing. On the ground or under saddle. It is definitely not your fault, they are there to TEACH you what you don't know! What you don't know you don't know...and as you said, they aren't very good at communication. This may just not be a good fit (in other words, they probably shouldn't be giving lessons!). Don't give up hope, shop around for other barns in your area for a quality program to get you on the right track.
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post #13 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 05:25 PM
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I agree it is not sounding like a good place to get back into riding.

As for when Simon stops, pulling is not the answer. Carry a longish whip (a stick out of a hedge will do) when he stops drop back so you are at his shoulder and with the whip in your left hand put it behind you and flick his butt with it. This is asking him to walk forward rather than asking him to run back when you pull.
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post #14 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 07:14 PM
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Your instructor may be a good riding instructor, but that doesn't necessarily make her a good horsewoman. IMO, the best solution for Simon's behavior will be found when someone asks, "Why?" And the answer may be as simple as he just doesn't want to do it. Simon would not be the first horse who knows how to do things, knows how to cross all the 't's and dot all the 'i's, but has developed a bad attitude thanks to his handlers. Another good way to get a horse to move forward is to lope a lasso around his rump and gently pull on it. Whatever gentle method you use, when Simon enters the ring, give him a reward.
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post #15 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 07:54 PM
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I wonder if the instructor knew that Simon might rear. If she did, then she should not have allowed you to lead him in. YOu are much too much of a beginner to be expected to handle a horse that has that strong of a reaction to being pulled on, by either lead or halter.

I do NOT think this is an issue of either this teeth or his bit. If it were, you would have had problems during the entirety of the lesson, which you said went very well. No, this is an issue of that school horse, like many such, knowing that once he enters the arena, he must work. He is reticent about going through. If it were just an issue of him not liking to go through narrow places, this would happen going through all narrow places.

My guess is that he REALLY does not like his job, and is protesting, mildly , at the gate. Then, when he is pulled to go through it sets up a dynamic of him wanting to resist all the harder It is possible that he has some issue with being hard tie (i.e. feeling hard resistance can trigger a feeling of panic, and the hrose pulls back , then rears up in automatic flight attempt. ) One would have to know more about his general behavior and history.

Anyway, back to his life as a school horse. Since you say he does well once in the arena, I think that he has not 100% soured to being a school horse. It's not an easy life for a horse, and I would not approach him necessarily with the same approach to discipline I might my own horse. He is going to be handled by a lot of beginners, so asking them to do any kind of complex moves it not going to work, at first.

I would suggest using treats as a reward. He comes to the gate, he gets a treat. You ask him to walk through the gate, when he comes forward, a treat. When he is in, a treat. Eventually, he will know that a treat comes from getting in, and you will only need to reward him once he is totally inside the arena.

Some will say this is trainning in bad habits. The bad habit comes only if he is rewarded with a treat when he 'mugs' you ( he snuffles hard into your pocket or hand or pushes his head into you demanding a treat). This cannot be rewarded. YOU must give the treat to him , never when he demands it by 'pushing' on you. Once he learns the treat only comes when he is inside the arena, he will walk in with relish!

As to putting pressure on a horse that is trying to back away. . . . yes, this can work,

but, you make it so that the pressure stays the same. If the horse backs away, you may need to back with him some, but you keep up a steady resistance, neither less nor more than before. IT's tricky. And when he pauses in his back up, you ease up on the pressure. YOu do NOT take up the slack he creates by him quitting to back away from you. You reward his choice to NOT back up, then you return with gently pressure to ask him forward. But if, as you experienced, the horse goes quickly into such a panic at the pull that it rears, then you probably need the help of a better trainer.

If that doesn't work, you use what @Foxhunter described to encourage him to go forward, but, WHILE you have a gentle forward pull on the line, you use a long whip to encourage him to move his feet and when he does, if he moves forward, he creates his own slack, if he moves backward, you maintain the same equal pull until he changes his direction and follows that feel on the line, even the tiniest amount.
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post #16 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 08:26 PM
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It does sound like this barn is unprofessional from what you've written, but I think a lot of good advice has already been given to you if you plan to stay at the barn and If you plan to find another one, then I'd suggest maybe visiting your local equestrian store (if you have one), as they may know of more barn options that aren't advertised. There are many great instructors out there who do not advertise. Additionally, your province (or state mabye?) may have a equestrian association that you can search on google. I know in Canada, there is one for each province. They often have a list of qualified (tried and tested) instructors, meaning that these instructors underwent an evaluation process, consisting of a series of tests evaluating riding/general knowledge, teaching/ safety and shadowing hours, to obtain certification. In Canada, these consist of different levels (instructor of beginners, coach level 1, instructor level 1 and so forth). Higher levels means they have more qualifications, but does not necessarily mean they are more knowledgeable than others, since many do not strive for higher certification due to the associated costs (time and money required).
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post #17 of 21 Old 11-26-2019, 09:26 PM
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Frankly, Mrs. C was probably seeing a future lawsuit on her hands if YOU were injured in that most unsafe situation. Mrs. L just sounds like a bully and not even a good horsewoman. Sorry, but that's my take on your scary situation. I don't have much hope for you getting good horsemanship lessons there even if it all calms down....hope I'm wrong. After the first incident of the horse rearing, you should NOT have been asked to lead him in again.

"Never let go" is unsafe advice,,,do you really want to lesson with this person? Certainly, TRY not to let go, but to keep yourself (and the horse) safe, LET GO before getting rope burns on your hand, or being drug by the horse. "run with the horse" is a somewhat advanced technique and it takes skill and feel to do it right to end up stopping the horse and still being on your feet,,,definitely NOT something to be yelled at a student who hasn't learned how to do it, much less a somewhat new student.

Personally, I don't like to lead a horse by reins with the bridle still on, for the reason that if something happens, you might end up putting a lot of pressure on his mouth/bars and can cause pain or damage,,,up to and including breaking his jaw. That was also freaking out Mrs. C. I was taught to fix the reins in such a manner that they are doubled safely up out of the way on his neck up behind his head, then use a rope thru both reins at the bottom of the double loop to give you plenty of rope to lead with.(hard to describe in words)
Yes, I do sometimes just lead with the reins, but if a horse did what you describe, I would LET Go as soon as he went up because it would only get worse from there.
For what its worth, to my limited bit knowledge, a Tom Thumb is a quite harsh bit. A lesson horse shouldn't need that harsh of a bit, and a NEW rider with untrained hands shouldn't be put in the position of riding with one. Just my opinion.

None of this was your fault and I'm glad you didn't end up getting seriously hurt!! If you stay at this barn, I sure hope things get a whole lot better for you and the horse(s). If you decide to move somewhere else, maybe have a nice little talk about just what is expected of new students including handling any horses (leading, etc). Also feel free to inquire about what bits are used, and come on here to ask about them if you want. In my opinion a new rider should only use a simple double jointed snaffle, if not a rope halter/hackamore.

no, no, just NO, please don't worry about YOU offending anyone, and don't give a second thought that they might have thought that you were's the other way around. So what that a 6 y.o. was leading her horse just fine,,,that's irrelevant, honestly -it is.

This just makes me mad on your behalf!!
I also want to say that going thru a gate (assuming you have to lead the horse thru a gate to get into the arena) is one of the most dangerous times in leading a horse. If the horse is spooked and you are beside or in front of him, you can get run over or crushed against the fence/gate. Leading thru a gate should be a lesson in itself on how to do it safely. It's best to have enough rope to 'send' the horse in ahead of you, then you can walk in safely. There's nothing wrong with leading in with the halter and lead rope, then switching to a bridle once in the arena.

Good luck, keep us updated.
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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 #18 of 21 Old 11-28-2019, 04:56 AM
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I want to address one thing here: NEVER pull back on a horse that is rearing. That's a recipe for having the horse fall over backward with you on it. You should always lean forward and even encourage the horse to put weight back in his fore and go forward. Pulling should never result in the horse rearing anyway. 'Forward' is the first and foremost lesson that anybody learns when riding, and that never changes. There's even a little 'forward' when you want energy to 'back up'. I hope that's a far more productive lesson than your trainer ever gave you, but hey - at least now you can say that you've experienced a rearing horse and stayed on! Good job! Not everyone gets to experience what that's like and some remain terrified of rearing.
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post #19 of 21 Old 11-28-2019, 08:26 AM
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@Feathers7 , she wasn't on the horse at the time, she was leading him. Just to clarity and not confuse the OP . So, she wasn't pulling back.


Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #20 of 21 Old 11-29-2019, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mslady254 View Post
@Feathers7 , she wasn't on the horse at the time, she was leading him. Just to clarity and not confuse the OP . So, she wasn't pulling back.
Woops! Oh well. Same answer, whether in the saddle or on the ground. Pulling is not the answer.
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No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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