Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
Is it just me, or does it seem like the quality of training on the majority of horses has declined sharply in direct correlation to the rise of the "home trainer" who relies on kits and videos?
I do agree that many purchase these kits expecting it to be easy. The truth is, its better to purchase a well trained horse as "we" learn to utilize the training kits. Young horses require experienced horseman for the optimal journey for both parties. I am also horse shopping and have found some of these advertising "45 days of Clinton Anderson training." When observed it was obvious that they were green themselves and the horse was a willing participant, just lacked the experienced leader. Its very important to vet any trainer or lesson barn before moving forward.
Having said all that, I also agree that horses lack the riding time as the other poster mentioned. I have noticed the same thing at my stable. There are many good horses, but they're only ridden occasionally and that usually consists of the weekend due to crazy schedules. The nice thing is there are some that can exercise the horses at our barn and many will take advantage of that. Its unfair to ask our horses to ride for 4 hrs once a week and expect so much. I have even seen a very nice 4 yo who is doing great, but feeds off his rider's nervousness (he's a baby hard to expect much more) but is a saint given only being ridden on the weekend. No bad habits, just those you would expect given his age. His owner decided to send him to a trainer and have him exercised throughout the week when she's unable. But not many handle it the right way, just blame the horse.
I have been in your shoes. I started my horse journey about 5 yrs ago or so and have been through a lot. Of course I would approach it differently as I was taken advantage of many times due to my lack of experience. But long story short, I found a good trainer, have submerged myself in reading to educate myself about the equine as well as training, and a ton of real life experience in medical/lameness issues. My gelding I have now was a HUGE confidence builder for me after my other horses robbed me of all of it. But, my guy has heel pain aka navicular all the way around (yes, rare I know) and one day took up bucking due to a bad angle in his hind compounding his pain. I knew something was wrong as this guy was a sweetheart. He was still corrected for the buck as there are other ways to communicate but in a way that respected both of us. We addressed the pain, and he's back to being his sweet, happy self. He loves the trails and is good in the arena. But then he sustained a suspensory injury and it was back to the search. While he recovered, I found a great boy to lease.
Normally I stay away from the younger horses. This guys is 7 but you would think he's 15. He's naturally lazy, and has a great mind. His eyes are often big so you wouldn't know it, but he's my trusted mount. He has an amazing foundation of training. He's a blast to ride as he has many buttons so we can sidepass, do all kinds of trail obstacles and have a great time. Although, he doesn't love the trails as much as my boy, I trust him as much as you ever would a horse. Having said that, he will occasionally test. He will try to run down a hill which he knows isn't allowed or cantering to catch up to a horse (most of the time he don't care) and other things he knows isn't allowed. I have learned over the years, if I don't correct these choices, they will become problems and my safe, sweet mount can become otherwise.
My heart goes out to you as I know the place you're in is a tough one and we have all been there. Anyone would be discouraged given your experiences. I hope you are able to find a new lesson barn and trainer that can help you move past your present circumstances. Other great resources would be maybe Julie Goodnight. I have many trainers I enjoy and learn from, but she has some great exercises both physically and mentally for regaining your confidence in the saddle. I have used those and even still do as I'm a timid and cautious rider. I have learned we have to communicate otherwise, and there's mental exercises that help me do that in an uncomfortable situation. We all go through moments of decreased confidence throughout the journey, even experienced riders. Its a wonderful resource for those moments. All the best to you!