Okay, back at a computer again :]
Often, if a person is way-over horsed, people telling them that can make the situation worse. We all know how people like to prove others wrong! They get into the ‘I’ll show them’ mentality – Which as said, is when people start getting hurt.
I think a big point to make is that you should be training for the horse. Anytime you are training for a different motivation is when things go pear shaped. Training to prove something to others, or to yourself, is one of the worst.
I think that being over horsed is one of the biggest reasons people lose interest in riding. I have a friend who never had that pony to learn and have fun on. She had a cranky, pushy, dominant horse, and then a highly strung, injury prone TB. She slowly stopped riding when he was always injured, and when he passed away, she never really took it up again. I used to bring her out and put her on Wildey, and she had such fun just hooning around! It was something she had never experienced – Just having fun on a horse you don’t have to worry about. So many young people out there are so focussed on competeing, or training, or improving, or ‘being’ someone, that they lose the pure and simple joy of just riding and enjoying the country with your horse. I feel that every kid should have at least one well-broke pony who they just take out on trails.
Ego is such a big player in the problem. It’s a rare person who can admit that they aren’t good enough, without feeling de-valued even in the smallest way. It feels like failure. And none of us like failure. It’s a mentality that needs to be changed. All those books and movies (Black Beauty, Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead, etc.) have a lot to answer for! We need to teach our kids the value in realizing you are over horsed and admitting it. We need to teach the parents, too – How many times have I seen a kid who just wants a pony to love, perched on a huge, spirited horse that is terrifying them while their parents scream instructions from the sidelines? There is nothing noble in struggling with a horse that is too much for you.
I think a part that most overlook is that it is doing the horse NO GOOD. If you are scared, confused, or worried, then the horse knows it. It’s like Riosdad days – He rides the horses he does and does things the way he does because he knows that he can control the horse in any situation that may arise. It really is the key. If you don’t have the tools, knowledge and confidence to control and manage any situation that may come up with a particular horse, or a quick and easy avenue to get it, then you have NO business riding that horse.
I am one of those people who hates to see a good horse go to waste. I know that said horse is probably perfectly happy in their life of laziness, but I just start to fume when I see a horse with such potential being wasted because the owner is to scared or doesn’t have the knowledge to bring it out, but they are too stubborn to let it go. There are two horses like this at the local agistment centre – A gorgeous, beautifully conformed 16h palomino ASH gelding and an adorable, lightning quick paint welsh mountain pony mare. The gelding does nothing because the owner doesn’t like him and he is apparently a ‘terror’ – I have ridden him and he didn’t put a foot wrong except for being lazy! The mare is too much for her owner (A typical quick, smart pony mare, the type I love!) and is sitting in the paddock almost foundering every year. Every time I see them I just pine for them – I have said to both owners that I would love to take them but they are too stubborn.
I feel more pity for the horse in these situations, than the owner. The horse has no say in who buys it and who attempts to train it – The people do.