Help, please - I'm arena sour - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Help, please - I'm arena sour

I started taking lessons two years ago. I am not very talented but I love riding. (I'm 40, if that makes a difference). I have three lessons a week at two different barns.

Lately I come out of lessons very irritable. There is only one mare that I enjoy riding, OTTB who is very forward and soft and, most importantly, sane. Obviously, she is very popular and I get to ride her maybe once a month and those lessons are everything I could hope for and more. I can jump with her, collect her, do some low level dressage (shoulder in, leg yield- that sort of thing) even though neither me nor the mare had the training - it's just easy with her. She makes me glow :)

All of the other riding school horses are the usual type, sluggish, unresponsive to the leg, have an assortment of vices (kicking out at the crop and other horses, reversing into other horses to kick them, napping, jumping into canter with a big buck whenever another horse passes ...). I used to enjoy my lessons regardless but for the last couple of months they just drive me up the wall - I can and do handle their antics but I just don't want to any more. It's making me not enjoy riding.

What do I do? Do I take a break? Do I buy a horse? - I can easily afford it. (No such thing as sharing around here).

One of my instructors says that I should know how to get the best out of any horse, but at this rate I'm not going to be riding at all so it's a moot point.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Just to clarify, my favourite mare does have some vices (some napping at the gate, a bit hard to turn right, rough and reluctant downward transitions) but I don't mind handling them at all. It's not like I'm looking for a perfect horse.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 07:38 PM
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If you feel totally confident that you'd like to stick with riding and money is no issue, I see no reason not to buy your own horse. That way, you can pick one out that you really connect with the same way that you connect to the OTTB, and continue with lessons on the new horse. If I were in your shoes, I would go for it. It sounds like you have good ability with riding at this point and are able to handle problems, so that you know what you can tolerate and you can ensure that whatever issues your horse did have, you could handle.

However, if you aren't really sure about buying a horse, I would look into either finding another barn with better behaved lesson horses (is it just me who has mostly had near-perfect equine citizens as lesson horses?) or leasing a horse. Maybe they would consider leasing the OTTB mare to you? Or you could find another horse, of course.

I think what it comes down to more than anything is observing what goals you have for your riding. Do you want to compete at medium to high levels, or just ride for fun? If you want to really get out there with your riding, I can definitely see the use of being able to make the best of any horse, but if you just want to have fun with it that doesn't seem necessary to me unless you enjoyed the challenge of course. I tend to think that it's totally fine if people have a particular "type" they prefer and stick with it...I'm very much that way.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 07:51 PM
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Idealistically you should be able to ride any horse, but as you pointed out, if you aren’t riding any horse because you quit out of frustration, that ideal is pointless.

I heard the same mantra from my trainer until I pointed out that at forty, I wasn’t looking for a new career as a colt breaker, I just wanted to enjoy riding, learn some new skills and improve old ones along the way.

I would say getting your own horse may not be a bad idea. At the very least, you will have a consistent mount to practice what you learn in lessons.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 08:31 PM
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its difficult to have any real satisfaction of improve,ent if yoiu never have enough time with one horse to work on things, and see the fruits of your labor. with lesson horses, even if you improve something in their way of going, it is lost whjem the next person climbs aboard. at least consider leasing one horse for awhile, full lease or half.
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky pony View Post
If you feel totally confident that you'd like to stick with riding and money is no issue, I see no reason not to buy your own horse. That way, you can pick one out that you really connect with the same way that you connect to the OTTB, and continue with lessons on the new horse. If I were in your shoes, I would go for it. It sounds like you have good ability with riding at this point and are able to handle problems, so that you know what you can tolerate and you can ensure that whatever issues your horse did have, you could handle.

However, if you aren't really sure about buying a horse, I would look into either finding another barn with better behaved lesson horses (is it just me who has mostly had near-perfect equine citizens as lesson horses?) or leasing a horse. Maybe they would consider leasing the OTTB mare to you? Or you could find another horse, of course.

I think what it comes down to more than anything is observing what goals you have for your riding. Do you want to compete at medium to high levels, or just ride for fun? If you want to really get out there with your riding, I can definitely see the use of being able to make the best of any horse, but if you just want to have fun with it that doesn't seem necessary to me unless you enjoyed the challenge of course. I tend to think that it's totally fine if people have a particular "type" they prefer and stick with it...I'm very much that way.

Good luck!
Thank you for your answer.

I have zero aspirations other than enjoying riding - it's not like I'm headed for the Olympia as a novice at 40 :) In any case, even if I was very talented - I don't have single competitive bone in my body. My only goal is to get as many pleasant trail rides in as many beautiful locales as I can.

Sharing and leasing are literally unknown where I live. It's not a very horsey country at all - that's why I'm struggling with finding a decent riding school as well.

It seems I should really get my own horse... I'm not too keen on that - I do have a lot of support but I'm scared that I will get a wrong horse or that I will spoil the right one. And I have to convince my husband- he is already jealous as it is :)
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 09:09 PM
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Your original post says that you are arena sour. I'd be arena sour too if I had to ride there several times a week. Any chance you can convince your instructors to get out on trails? Trail riding is so much more interesting than arena riding unless you have some very specific goals. You don't need goals to trail ride--just enjoying your horse and beautiful scenery.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 09:16 PM
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I would buy the mare you like riding.
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
Your original post says that you are arena sour. I'd be arena sour too if I had to ride there several times a week. Any chance you can convince your instructors to get out on trails? Trail riding is so much more interesting than arena riding unless you have some very specific goals. You don't need goals to trail ride--just enjoying your horse and beautiful scenery.
I do go on trails with my favorite mare - I love it. She's not perfect but she does not go crazy. Let's just say that a horse used to the race track doesn't do inclines too well (it feels as though she has sixteen legs, all tripping over each other). The rest of them I wouldn't trust as far as I could kick them- and I tried. Both trails and kicking :)

However, I occasionally go on very long trails (40 km) and those days are highlights of my life, right up there with my wedding day. Unfortunately, these excursions aren't practical for weekly riding. It seems I need to move to the country-side and buy a horse :)
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-28-2015, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
I would buy the mare you like riding.
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Well, this bright spark (i.e. me) had a chance to buy her and my instructor said I should. I was too scared. My instructor bought her instead and now she is not letting go - and rightfully so. I'm sure there is a lesson for me somewhere in there.
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