Emotional and frustrated training my horse *RANT* - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Unhappy Emotional and frustrated training my horse *RANT*

For those of you who haven't followed the previous threads of the story of my horse, she is a young mare who was diagnosed this year with osteoarthritis. After being off for several months, we put her back under saddle last week.

Well, things aren't easy. I'm a novice rider. I've been riding since I was a young child, but I haven't been working with professionals very long. My horse was doing very well, but after being out of work, things have become a lot more difficult. I love my horse. She is so willing and her and I are a perfect team, but I find that the past couple of times I have been at the barn, it has turned from a place of peace to a place of stress (well, really only when I'm riding and directly after). Everything goes perfectly until it is time to get on my horse.

I'm working with a trainer who is fantastic, I've known him for a while but just recently began lessons with him. He is really helpful, encouraging to me and telling me to just be patient and to do nothing that makes me frustrated. We begin my lessons (as well as every ride) with lunging for about 12 minutes, then I will ride... but basically he is going to be riding her for the first 15 minutes of every lesson I have (which will be once a week).

My skills have gotten rusty because I haven't ridden in several months, and my new trainer is kind of re-vamping my dressage training, so for example, I'm learning how to use my LEG rather than my HEEL, and my horse has to get used to that as well.

But now little things like trotting in a straight line have become difficult because I can't keep my horse away from the wall, I literally hit myself into it. When my trainer rides her, he can have her frame up perfectly and trot around like she has been training for months, but when I do it, I can't even get her to trot for more than a few steps without running into the wall...

What is really frustrating me is that it ISN'T HER FAULT. She is an amazing horse and she has so much potential. I just don't know if I'm selling myself short. I have people at the barn, my friends, who are giving me tough love and telling me that I need to keep trying and that me saying I can't is really saying I won't... but I don't know. I understand them and I love them for trying to help but I am so frustrated with myself. I know my horse will come with time, but I keep getting mad at myself. WHY CAN'T I JUST DO THIS. Why can't I just get it right, why can't I go back to the way things were? I'm not mad at my horse, and I'm not frustrated at her. I'm frustrated at the situation and that I can't do it. And what is partially frustrating is also the fact that I know other people are judging me thinking that I'm not trying hard enough, when it's really that I just don't feel like I have the tools to do this properly. It's so hard because my trainer is telling me what I need to do, he gives me specific advice for all of my problems, but then I go to do it and I don't achieve results.

I don't know what answers I'm looking for. No, I don't want to sell my horse, and no, I don't want to get rid of her. And NO, I don't want to stop riding. It really is taking a toll on me though because right now I feel like I'm less of a rider than I was before. I feel like I've lost my "mojo" being a rider, and I feel like I'm doubting my own abilities. I suddenly feel kind of lame and uneducated, whereas before I felt like I was approaching being an intermediate dressage rider, which would have been a really big step for me.

If you read all of that, thank you. Like I said, I don't know what I'm looking for, but it seems like no one I know really understands what it is like being a novice rider with an inexperienced horse, because everyone else already has an experienced horse or they are an experienced rider with the tools to handle it....

God bless :)
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 14,153
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Focus on one thing you improved on from your last ride. Don't look at whole picture, just one little thing you did better from the last rime you rode. Stick with it, with instruction from your trainer and his training on your horse, if you work hard, it will pay off.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 10:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: On the golden coast of Michigan
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I've been in a position like yours, not exact but never-the-less about the same.

I had a horse that for a long time was a great horse, still is. For a long time I was happy and I enjoying the horse and myself. Eventually things changed and I wanted to show and all of those things. I asked too much for my old horse and he just wasn't suited for my new wants.

Everything got stressful for me and the horse. Riding wasn't fun anymore and it eventually became a chore that I hated. Eventually I sold him to a person that they was able to provide the needs that my old horse needed. Both were happy and so was I. I absolutely loved him and I still do, I loved him enough to give him to someone who could take care of him and offer him the things that he wanted and can do rather than me forcing it on him. He was happy that way.

Let me tell you this. If its a chore to you, its a chore to the horse and even people around you. What I recommend, take some time off. Maybe send your horse for some training at your trainer's house and just relax. Maybe ride some other person's horse, maybe more your level. I really don't want to sound rude, it really sounds like the horse is reacting to your stress. If you go into the arena with a 'oh here we go again' attitude, then your horse is going to react to that, and probably in a way that you don't want. You also may be doing something that you don't know your doing, like your horse running into the wall with you on her and not running into the wall with your trainer, etc.

I think you just need some time off to clear your mind and enjoy yourself. Best of luck.

For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-23-2013, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Thank you for all of your advice. I really appreciate everything you've said.

Basically, here's what is happening. I love walking around with my horse, doing a relaxed free walk, it is perfect. And I love going to the barn and spending time with her. But it seems that when I put my legs on her to trot, she immediately goes over to the wall. If I'm in the middle of the ring, she will literally walk sideways over to the wall. And then, when I notice that, it's when I get that "here we go again" attitude, mainly because I don't know how to handle it.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-31-2013, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
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here's something that I posted in response to another similar thread I created:
Thanks for all your advice, everyone.
I think I was being unreasonable and you're right, expecting too much. My girl is actually working very hard and I don't feel the same way I did when I posted this. Things are going quite well. She actually was trotting from week 1, but nothing unreasonable. Now she is having a trainer work with her twice a week, and then I ride twice a week. Each ride starts with 10 minutes of lunging (5 each way w/ side reins) and then when I ride, it's anywhere from 15-20 minutes of walking, and when my trainer rides, it's a nice upbeat workout with a lot of trotting. Thank you for all your advice, I think I needed a place to vent my frustrations and I'm feeling a lot better now! Plus my girl is working hard, wants to please, and I don't blame her that the work is difficult! and the fact she has arthritis, I'm hoping this working out is helping her! ... i've got to get back in riding shape too:)

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