How do you know if your horse is not "the right one"? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 10-08-2014, 08:33 PM
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If you don't enjoy it then it's not the horse for you I had to make that decision before its hard I know but there is a horse for every one and when you find that better match its way better because your happier.
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post #12 of 25 Old 10-08-2014, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Purple Squirrel View Post
Well, I've been trail riding 3 times since I've had him. It was not so fun. He gets nervous on the way out, and jigs badly on the way back. On the last trail ride when his front feet started leaving the ground we both walked back.

I'm sorry you are scared. Do you know anyone else that might be a more confident rider then you that could ride him more?
In all honesty, I'm not really surprised he's a bit jumpy and jiggy if you've only ridden him out on the trails three times in the year you've had him. I suspect if he was ridden out there more regular he might stop.
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-08-2014, 10:20 PM
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x2 on the suggestion to have a highly experienced rider try him out. You could be amazed at the insight it may provide - I've seen horses that were testing their riders to no end (and doing all sorts of crap to get out of being ridden) suddenly turn into magnificent mounts when someone who isn't going to take no for an answer (and is able to rapidly communicate that to the horse) gets on their back.

So yes, to agree with others (and please don't take it the wrong way) could very well be you. I've been that person who couldn't get a horse to do something only to see a rider far better than myself get on that same horse (even during the same lesson) and whip the horse into shape in mere minutes.

I'd try that before giving up. If it turns out it's your riding ability, and not your horse, then perhaps it's time to consider going back to basics for a period of time on another schoolie that isn't going to be so reactive/stubborn and hone your skills and confidence. Then, try him again at some point down the road.
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-08-2014, 11:38 PM
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For me I knew it was time when I started dreading going out to the barn. My horse was in training and I did NOT want to ride him. He's the biggest sweetheart in the world from the ground but just way too much horse for me.

My trainer was fully supportive of my decision and helped me find a new horse. It ended up being the right decision because I'm head over heels for my new horse and he's a absolutely perfect for me. Rather than dreading going to the barn, I practically get withdrawals when something prevents me from going.
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-08-2014, 11:50 PM
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I've given this advice before to others, so here's my little spiel again.

There's three pieces to any riding instruction - horse, rider, trainer. All three are variables, and all can be modified or changed in various ways (with the least amount of variability being 'rider' - you can't be someone else!). So what we have in your case is a year-long horse-rider-trainer unit, that isn't very happy or effective. Rider is miserable and not making much progress, horse is miserable, trainer seems kinda oblivious. You are correctly trying to figure out which variable to adjust.

For a beginner, the 'rider' aspect is pretty much a constant. You can't be a different person and you're already doing everything you know how to do! There's not much flexibility here, and I would say you've spent far too much time already trying to make 'rider' work for horse/trainer -- you, this rider, right now, can't make this horse/trainer unit work.

Next we have horse. By your own report, he's actually a pretty solid guy, but he's been getting pokier and scarier. The relationship seems sour, and he just doesn't seem to *like* you. You, in return, are getting scared and unhappy with him! You know you're supposed to just be confident and The Boss, but amazingly, repeating that to yourself 100x isn't changing how you actually feel. Nor is repeatedly forcing yourself into situations that you don't truly feel you know how to handle, in hopes that you'll muddle through enough to achieve "confidence", doing anything for you.

Which leads me to...trainer. Now here is an interesting thing, because I can tell by *reading your internet post* that you lack confidence, are probably way more afraid now than you ever were in the beginning, and your horse is getting pushy and frustrated. And this trainer has either missed this for 12 months, or has absolutely no idea how to manage it beyond trying to do the same things that haven't worked yet over and over and praying something changes.

My opinion - and I base this on having almost literally the EXACT same experience as you (new, 40's, beginner-ISH horse)! - is the horse is fine, and YOU are fine, but you need different instruction -- that can help you regain your confidence, and goes slower. That doesn't make this trainer "bad", she's just not the trainer the you/horse unit needs right now!

When I switched from "Just Be Confident" trainer to "I will teach you to how to deal with the bratty pushy nonsense, and while you are learning, I will enforce this horse listening to you, and you will start to understand how the levers work, and THAT will make you confident" trainer -- I went farther and felt better in one 45 min lesson than I had in four months.

With the right instruction, after about 5 months, my relationship with my horse went from begrudging tolerance of each other to happy whuffs when I walk up to his stall, friendly nibbles when brushing, and near miraculous willingness to try in the arena. He still pushes - he always will, he's just that kind - but I can deal with it now, and I know he won't do anything malicious. Pushes are now exceptions, rides are not fights. And the pushes are half-hearted, easily corrected, quickly forgotten. What felt impossible 6 months ago is pure love today.

Given how *generally* solid you describe your horse, my opinion is try finding more suitable instruction first. You certainly don't have to give any new trainer a year! -- at this point, I'd give it a few lessons and it either clicks or doesn't. It would also, I think, be very valuable to get an assessment of the horse/you unit from a variety of experienced people (even if you don't pursue further lessons). If you go through a few trainers and you're in the same place, then you've done everything possible and yep, it's time to see about changing that "horse" variable. (Or perhaps a different trainer will assess that this really is way too much horse, and you need a better fit, right off the bat!)

My trainer's background is with PATH (therapeutic riding) and she's patient, creative, and - obviously - all but obsessed with safety. I can't speak for all instructors but PATH is a great place to start looking if you have no other recommendations or ideas. (You can't ride at a PATH stable, but some instructors are willing to travel to give lessons to supplement income).

Good luck! I know this got long but I did want to echo everyone else -- kudos to you for recognizing that the situation isn't right, and it's either too much horse or not the right instruction. I hope it becomes fun again for you very, very soon.
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-09-2014, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the thoughtful and extremely insightful replies! Much appreciated!
In response to some points / question that were raised:
Before even riding the trails I twice lead him in-hand on short trails, and then, when I rode, I always rode out with one or two others on their steady trail horses. As he was said to be a good trail horse (this being pretty much all I was looking for in a horse) and seeing my friends enjoying the ride led me to start questioning his suitability. Dealing with severe jigging seems to be above my current abilities...
I usually ride every other day. (It would be more if I could -darn work!, however I have not been motivated all week, which led to this post ...)
Yes, I have had several of the girls at the barn ride him. Sure, one of the girls who is very experienced had him looking like a show pony after about 20 minutes of taking no nonsense. I expect if he was her horse he would be as awesome as could be. Another experienced rider agreed that he was not a "fun" ride. (They think he was possibly previously a gaming horse as he is quick.) My trainer has ridden him and he pulls the same stuff with her too, but I think she just enjoys the challenge.
Yes, I have considered finding a new trainer :/
Yes, I have ridden some of the other horses at the barn. Some are amazing, and some less so, and I understand that they all have their "moments".
I understand a lot of it is just testing the rider. We've worked through plenty of "small bumps in the road", I'm really not a nervous rider, and he doesn't scare me, but he is just so stubborn. Would the next horse be so stubborn, or with my abilities could I be the boss?
I'm in my 40's, life's too short to not have fun .... So it seems in writing this that I may be ready to move on ... new horse, or new trainer... much to think about ... but no rush. He's definitely taught me a thing or two ...!
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post #17 of 25 Old 10-09-2014, 12:32 PM
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How was he when you had him in hand on the trails?
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-09-2014, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Nervous. Second time better with another horse.
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post #19 of 25 Old 10-09-2014, 12:54 PM
Green Broke
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I honestly feel like you two are not a good match dominance wise. He needs a more decisive leader that doesn't take any crap, and you don't want to fight. So move on.

I thought that this was just a conclusion that lazy people came to when they wanted to sell their horse and start over instead of working things through. Then I ended up with a horse that didn't match me at all. I was a fairly experienced rider with a lot of young horse experience, but I needed something that was happy go lucky to build my confidence back up. Two years of fighting later and I finally gave him what he deserved, a new owner. He was a good horse, but not for me, at that time.

I have watched my cousin fight for 3 years with a horse that most people have no problem with. Every session is a struggle. She needs to build her confidence and the horse is a tester that needs to leach confidence from his rider. It doesn't work. She is determined to make it work out, and I'm sure years of fight later it eventually will, but its exhausting and unpleasant. A new horse better suited would make life so much easier and more fun.
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post #20 of 25 Old 10-09-2014, 01:52 PM
Green Broke
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If it takes a top notch rider or trainer and a challenge to get a good ride out of him, and you want an easy going relaxed sort of guy, then there's your mismatch. I too would recommend getting a second (paid) opinion from an instructor or trainer before making a final call, but as you said- life is too short to feed a horse you don't enjoy. Appaloosa are known for their attitude (aka "appy-tude") and stubbornness though, so I can't say I'm shocked that your guys has those traits in spades. Be ready to spend some money though- easy going, safe, well-trained horses are always in demand and unless you're willing to compromise somewhere (age, health, etc) you're going to pay a good price to get what you're looking for. That's a small thing for the joy of actually looking forward to going to the barn and riding IMO though. A horse you like to ride and one you don't both cost the same amount to feed each month, it's just the use you get out of them that varies.
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