Hi! I have been riding for 12 months total, group lesson only, 1 hour a week. I have been cantering 4 months after starting riding, and currently I'm doing jumps at a trot. Every time I come to my lesson, I get a different horse. Every horse seems to have their own problems and because of this, lessons can be frustrating.
Have you requested sticking to one or two horses, until you are comfortable with them, and then trying different horses?
Sometimes, I ride this horse who I have a lot of trouble controlling in the canter. Once we start cantering, he bombs around the arena, cutting off other horses, getting super close to them, and completely ignoring any cues I give. What's worse is that today we had a substitute coach who kept egging me on to go faster, and the horse was just going crazy-- cutting corners, not listening to turns, not slowing down or stopping when I asked. I don't know how to deal with a horse like this. I know it's my fault, not the horse's. Another (much more experienced) rider rode him three weeks ago in my lesson, before she switched to a different class, and he was completely different with her-- he was listening, he was calm, so I know he's capable of this. Where am I mistaken? I feel like with him, I'm not collected, I'm out of control. But I don't know what being in control means. I don't know what to do to be in control.
You should not be riding this horse if you do not have the tools in your toolbox to know what to do to re-grain control. I will generally use circles to rate the speed of a canter, and really emphasize my lower leg to push the horse's belly out, and have them soften through the bridle.
If you don't feel comfortable on this horse, you shouldn't be riding it - nor should the instructor be watching you struggle with this horse and not intervening with techniques to try, or getting on themselves to show you how.
This same horse also causes me problems during grooming and tacking. He will be very cooperative when I let him eat while I groom him, but if I tie him up in his stall, he becomes very salty. He'll paw at the ground and refuse to pick his hooves up (I've tried so many things: horse cookies, pinching/twisting the chestnut, getting him to move around a bit to throw him off balance, leaning into him). If I manage to get a hoof up, I'll be able to hold it for two seconds before he angrily slams it down on the ground. The school expects the horses to be tied up during grooming and tacking (I have no idea why this is necessary), but I've given up on this after a stablehand "helped" me by punching this horse in the barrel to get him to cooperate. What should I do?
It's not your horse, so it shouldn't be your problem - but the horse has your number and is doing what he/she wants. If you don't have the experience to fix this problem by yourself, then don't try - again, you shouldn't be stuck with this horse.
If this was your horse, I fully agree with the stablehand - I wouldn't have punched, but my horses fully know that if they give me problems with their feet, they get smacked in the belly. If he/she isn't lifting her leg, you can take the pick of the hoofpick and press it into the side of their cannon - they will generally quickly lift their leg. If the horse is able to get his foot out of your hand, you need to think ahead and have a better handle on his foot - this comes with confidence. If you ever watch a farrier, they generally can hold onto one leg and not let go of it, even if a horse is jumping around. Even try just saying a firm, nasty "QUIT IT" or "KNOCK IT OFF" - this may be enough. Again, if it were my horse, it would be paired with a solid slap to the belly.
Secondly, I tend to end up most often on stubborn and very lazy horses. In particular, ones that don't like to turn when I ask them to (they prefer to follow their friends). When turning, I rely on my outside leg primarily, and if that isn't working, I add the inside rein, and press the crop into the shoulder, but for some reason nothing happens. These same horses also cut corners, especially during the canter, and no amount of leg and rein seems to help. I know I should start doing little pulls on the outside rein before the corners when we're cantering, but the horse seems to take it as a cue to slow down, and we end up falling apart into the trot again.
Managing horses like this comes with experience. Instead of using outside rein, I would be using inside leg on the corners - start with gentle squeezing, up the energy to taps if nothing happens, and continue to add more from there. If something small isn't work, you need to increase the volume of your aid - if you don't have the experience to do so, then the instructor should really be helping you...A theme is appearing here.
[quoteI do have the following issues as a rider. I have a tendency to lean forward in my trot (I get anxious about hurting the horse while I post, so I had previously thought leaning forward means I have a softer landing). I also tend to stick my elbows out, and sometimes my hands are in the wrong position (too high or too low). I'm working hard to correct these issues, and remind myself throughout each lesson to fix these things, but I don't know if they are what causes the above undesirable behaviour in the horses I ride.[/QUOTE]
You won't hurt the horse posting - post properly, it will increase your chances of staying on. Where you focus your weight is where you will go when things go haywire - leaning forward means you will end up on the ground. I don't think these things are causing the issues are having, but I do think your confidence may be.
Finally, I'm not sure how much crop use is too much, and how much rein use is too much. The substitute coach kept telling me to use more crop, whereas my regular coach has gotten mad at me for this and has threatened to take the crop away. I also tend to rely too much on reins instead of leg when cantering, and I don't know how to correct this.
Aids (spur, crop, rein) are used on a situation by situation basis, and horse by horse basis. Some horses you have to be quiet and soft on, and some horses need more of a firm touch. Again, this is coming down to your instructor for you not knowing how/when/how often/how hard to use these aids.
IMO - after 48 hours of lessons, give or take, I would expect that you would have some of your own answers to these questions + a relationship with your instructor where you can ask questions, and they will step in when you need help. Without seeing the situation firsthand, I will say this is a failure on the instructors part
, because the safety of a lesson student is the number one priority
- and that doesn't seem prioritized.