Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: waaaayyy up North
I'm an older beginner, slowly learning over the past 2 years. Since I've got into the horse world I have met the most dishonest people I've ever met in my life. I've never seen so much lying and cheating. They should be ashamed of themselves!
That being said, I think the label "beginner safe" is very misleading. For instance, some might say my gelding is "beginner safe." He's 12 years old and has a reputation for being a plug/deadhead. He doesn't buck, rear, kick or bite, walks trots and canters (once he trusts a person), knows all his commands etc. I didn't feel safe or confident with him, though. He kept hitting me in the stomach with his head, HARD! He would refuse to lead when I went to get him out of the pasture, go back to the barn as if he was barn sour when I took him for a trail ride, refuse to pick up his feet for me etc, etc. Finally I was ready to sell him but decided to go ahead and give lessons a whirl. The trainer wasn't there for 30 seconds before she said "I see you have a big pushy gelding there!" and she spent about an hour showing me how to deal with a horse being bossy with his head, and lead him properly and confidently. Then she spent about an hour showing me how to get him to pick up his feet and clean them correctly and, most importantly, put them down gently. I had no idea you couldn't just drop a horse's hoof back down. She taught me how to establish a regular routine with him, doing the same things in the same order each time I brought him in - and a lot of other things I needed to do to give him trust and confidence in me. She told me he will test his boundaries and take advantage whenever he gets a chance, but showed me how to keep him from doing it. We've had three lessons and now I'm taking him out on trail rides alone and really enjoying him. He still tests me sometimes but he's learning that I'm not a pushover and every time I'm with him he behaves better. I feel safe with him and we're both having fun and getting to know one another. Now - I'm still a beginner and he's doing good for me, but does that make him "beginner safe?"
Another example is my friend's grandson's pony. The grandson is six and has been riding her since he was four. That pony is perfect for him. He can walk out in the pasture and catch her without a problem. She is as still as a stone when he gets on her and really watches out for him when he's on her back, doesn't do anything that might cause him to lose his balance or fall. He "barrel raced" her at a county fair which I guess was extremely cute. She hates adults, though! She's awful for me - won't let adults catch her, pitches fits. I went to saddle her up and she pitched a fit while she was tied, pulled back so hard she broke her halter. She doesn't want to lead, etc. From what I hear she's that way with all adults. So - could you call her "beginner safe?"