kinda struggling and feeling somewhat insecure - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Question kinda struggling and feeling somewhat insecure

Hey Guys (and girls ;) )


I have learned a lot already from this forum. I started riding in august and I knew nothing about horses. I have had 11 lessons and I let myself get filmed so I can rewatch and learn. I think really hard about every lesson to analyze what I can do better or different. I also watch lots of instructional videos and read books about riding. All the other riders that have seen me ride have said I have a knack for it and will surely become a decent rider after one year. BUT I have noticed some patterns and difficulties that make me really insecure and stressed and these feelings are not helping my riding since the horse gets antsy too...



A bit more info: I ride one horse in the horse school and one privately owned horse that belongs to a friend. Both horses behaved fine the first few times I rode them. After that some problems arose like rearing, stepping backwards when I ask forward, not wanting to move, biting my foot, softly taking my whole hand in their mouth when I stop grooming (I put my elbow up now so he pokes himself). I think I had a too romantic idea of horses and I understand now that is really hard work and I am willing to put in the work and better my skills, but I kinda feel a little discouraged... Why does this happen? Probably I am doing something wrong or sending of the wrong signals... The horse of my friend gently touches me when I see him (he already knows me a bit), the horse in the riding school pulls away his head when I want to scratch him (I leave him alone then since I don't want to be rude/stress him out.) I really don't know how to respond properly to horse behaviour so I don't respond (because I want to think first: why does it do that??) The horse in the riding school also tries to run over me. I just say easy and pull on the reins (so the bit asks him back) and only when he is calm and stops I proceed to move. But I still think I might be doing something wrong since every horse I ride seems to become kinda naughty after a few lessons. Is it because they know I am a beginner?? The other riders also tell me I am too kind. :( I also feel guilty towards the horse because I don't want to hurt it by riding badly (When doing some trotting I sometimes bounce and all trying to ride and when I get stressed I tense up and it goed even worse... :p) Only positive point in this story is that I seem to be good at galloping and staying in the seat (not bouncing). When trotting I stumble/tip over on my horses neck sometimes (also embarassing especially when other people are watching me.) When I am riding with a group It's just too much to watch and cue so I decided to proceed with private lessons first before I go into group lessons again.



I want to stress that I am gonna keep up my hobby, I am very willing to put in the effort that is needed. I just would like some advice from more experienced riders and maybe an explanation (if possible) about the horse behaviour. thanks alot! :)

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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and oh yeah, my instructors say I am doing a good job at the riding itsself, so the problem is more with the horse behaviour I guess?

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #3 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 09:15 AM
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If you are seeing those kinds of behaviors start after a few rides, I question your instructor quality and their choice in horses.
Beginner horses shouldn't even have rearing in their vocabulary. Yea, these horses know you are a beginner and are reacting to mixed signals. But a good lesson horse knows how to interpret that and figure out what you want. If they can't figure it out, they stop or keep doing the same thing. They don't rear, go backwards, or bite at you.
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post #4 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
If you are seeing those kinds of behaviors start after a few rides, I question your instructor quality and their choice in horses.
Beginner horses shouldn't even have rearing in their vocabulary. Yea, these horses know you are a beginner and are reacting to mixed signals. But a good lesson horse knows how to interpret that and figure out what you want. If they can't figure it out, they stop or keep doing the same thing. They don't rear, go backwards, or bite at you.

The horse of my friend reared, backs up on me and is really stubborn. But he is not a lesson horse and my friend corrects him (the rearing happened when she was away for a brief moment and the horse was really excited or startled.) My friend is almost always present and he listens to her. He is clearly angry when I try to do light riding and fail (he starts to throw his head up and snorts and I think he tries to say: woman please, you annoy me :p) The lesson horse bites my foot when I am on him (I decided to bump his nose with my foot when he does that again) and he also grabbed my whole hand in his mouth when I was grooming him. This happened three times. The next time he tried I quickly put my elbow up so he poked himself. He also knows that he has to go forward but he doesn't wanna and just stands there (I have to really kick him hard and long => i mean bump with my feet btw) I want to ride on a certain line and he is going sideways and seemes to want to do his own stuff... :s I dunno about all this, I feel like I need a good horse that listens so I can learn the basics and don't have to worry about a horse biting my feet and all...

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #5 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 10:14 AM
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Your friend does not seem to be in a position to do either you or the horse a favor by putting you together. Not at this point at any rate. Spend time on the ground with him. Get used to horses and their reactions but give yourself more time on a lesson horse under a competent instructor. As to why you see this behavior in both I will say from your posts that you are decidedly not the leader in your actions. Not that you won't develop it over time but I feel you over think things.
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 10:16 AM
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please dont ride your friends horse.... that sounds like an accident waiting to happen. stick with your instructor for now, and then when you get some good quality lessons under your belt, you can start riding other (safe) horses. This is dangerous to you, as well as teaching your friends horse bad lessons. Not that its your fault at all, every interaction with a horse is a training session for them, and they learn how to react from peoples behaviour.
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post #7 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolien View Post
...I think I had a too romantic idea of horses and I understand now that is really hard work and I am willing to put in the work and better my skills, but I kinda feel a little discouraged... Why does this happen?...I really don't know how to respond properly to horse behaviour so I don't respond (because I want to think first: why does it do that??)...But I still think I might be doing something wrong since every horse I ride seems to become kinda naughty after a few lessons....The other riders also tell me I am too kind....
Lesson horses can get quite sour on riding. Then they will do OK if someone insists, but the "romance" of horses may not exist with a lot of school horses. If a horse becomes 'naughty' after a few rides, it may be a horse who has decided - maybe years before you met him - that being ridden sucks, and then looks for ways of getting back at the rider. Not BIG ways normally, and not with someone with the experience to punish them, but...still expressing their dislike for being ridden.

Traditionally, the response is to gain enough experience to punish the horse. And with a thoroughly disgruntled horse, that may be all that is left. I have a small mustang who was a lesson horse for years. 5 years later, he still LOATHES being ridden in an arena. He fights his rider in an arena, which is why no one wanted to buy him or even take him for free. The instructor remembered when my family took lessons and offered him to us.

And while he still hates the arena, he's an utterly enjoyable horse - opinionated, but enjoyable and helpful - on a trail. He'll try to get you off in an arena, but will carry a grown man for hours on a trail.

He's had at least 6 previous owners and may never truly trust a human again, but he is pleasant enough and certainly safe enough on a trail. My wife rides 6 times a year, and on the trail she can ride him like this:


The romance of horses comes with a horse who isn't sour on riding. I recommend this journal as a great place to hear about the romance of riding: Why I Gotta Trot ( @gottatrot ). The romance comes when a horse views his rider an someone who ENABLES him rather than someone who dominates him. When the horse views humans as a friend who does stuff WITH the horse, not TO the horse.

That can be done in arena riding and many do so. There are horses who love riding in an arena with their pal. But there are also a lot of ruined horses who are certain humans are jerks and it isn't always possible to change their minds. Particularly if you don't own them!

It is certainly possible to get a lot of horses to enjoy being ridden. Trails or arena. But that requires them to be ridden by someone who appreciates them and who uses reward - things the horses like, not just food - as well as rare punishment.

This is one of my favorite quotes about horses. It was written over 150 years ago by a cavalry officer:

Quote:
The French say, when speaking of a horse that shows restiveness, "il se defend" - he defends himself...There is much truth in this expression, and it is one that riders should constantly bear in mind, for insubordination is most commonly the result of something having been demanded from the horse that it either did not know how to do or was unable to perform...

...There is another thing to be considered with regard to the horse's character - it loves to exercise its powers, and it possesses a great spirit of emulation; it likes variety of scene and amusement; and under a rider that understands how to indulge it in all this without overtaxing its powers, will work willingly to the last gasp, which is what entitles it to the name of a noble and generous animal...

..Horses don't like to be ennuye, and will rather stick at home than go out to be bored; they like amusement, variety, and society: give them their share of these, but never in a pedantic way, and avoid getting into a groove of any kind, either as to time or place, especially with young animals. It is evident that all these things must be taken into account and receive due attention, whether it be our object to prevent or to get rid of some bad habit a horse may have acquired; and a little reflection will generally suffice to point out the means of remedying something that, if left to itself, would grow into a confirmed habit, or if attacked with the energy of folly and violence, would suddenly culminate in the grand catastrophe of restiveness...

On Seats and Saddles, by Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars in the Imperial Austrian Service (1868)
A couple of other journals I recommend:

My 2 Mares were stars on Trail today! - @egrogan


Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People
- @SueC

There are quite a few others, but those are three journals that have given me a lot to think about.

"because I want to think first: why does it do that??"

If you can keep that attitude, you can become the sort of rider horses want to be with!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 10-19-2019 at 11:54 AM.
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
Your friend does not seem to be in a position to do either you or the horse a favor by putting you together. Not at this point at any rate. Spend time on the ground with him. Get used to horses and their reactions but give yourself more time on a lesson horse under a competent instructor. As to why you see this behavior in both I will say from your posts that you are decidedly not the leader in your actions. Not that you won't develop it over time but I feel you over think things.
and how can I change this?? I mean to be the leader?

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #9 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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@QtrBel I do think alot about my interactions with horses. That is the only way to learn and keep developing. If you don't do that you get stuck. If Monty Roberts hadn't rethought his lessons from his youth he wouldn't be where he is now.



Or do you mean I should interact more quickly and instinctively instead of thinking about the 'why' of the behaviour?

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #10 of 23 Old 10-19-2019, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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@bsms



I totally understand that... But I do not have much of a choice: I don't have the money nor the experience for my own horse so I have to ride school horses to learn. I guess we all have to start somewhere. I do ride the school horse on the trails too. He seems to enjoy that. :) I also know he bites in anticipation of the cinch being tightened too hard. Apparently some other riders do that and it hurts him so he gets anxious before being saddled. But then again, I am not the owner and not the only one that interacts with the horse... I also feel like a jerk when I have to push the horse into something because I think I do understand why he won't... :s I kinda get it, but the other riders just tell me: be more firm. So I am kinda confused now... Be firm/be the boss or try to understand.... :s I do feel the best way to become a rider would be to really bond with a horse through various activities and on a slow pace... But that isn't the reality of the riding schools...

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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