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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!
I wasn’t sure where to put this so I thought I’d put it on here
There’s a TON of backstory to this but I don’t have all day😂 but I’m having a dilemma and need some advice or tips or even anything. I just don’t really have anyone to talk to about this since everyone I know is involved and I need an outside view.
So basically I’ve always wanted to be on my schools equestrian team and I’ve been searching for a horse to full lease for it for a year. I finally found a horse and I just jumped at the opportunity. He wasn’t ideal for it, as he was mostly a trail horse used by the leader of a trail camp in the mountains but he had a lot of speed and was ridden by beginners on the trail a lot too. When I rode him he was FAST. But I was ready and excited for a potential project horse, that wouldn’t do everything for me as I felt I was ready to do a little training. Basically to shorten a very long story, I brought him to my barn, and he was very nervous and hot, when I wanted him to lope he would just do this hollow fast canter that was just not what I was expecting from him at all. But after a while, of trying new things, new bits, a Hackamore, training techniques and all that stuff… he just calmed down and I could ride him in a snaffle western with a loose rein and he would be perfectly collected and a perfect boy. I think it was because he finally got used to the barn and settled down. But he still was pushy at times and I knew at times he was taking advantage of me and of course I didn’t let him get away with it. I love him even though he has an odd personality😂 he’s not the worlds most cuddly horse but he’s my boy. I started on my schools equestrian team and he was doing relatively well, for trailering to a new place and being around new horses, so I rode him in a plain old snaffle to reduce his stress which is what I thought would work best for him. But compared to the other girls on the team we’re just terrible. During the practices he’s just terrible because he’s so looky loo that he’s not listening to me and of course he’s the only non patterned horse. But the only training I’ve done with him before the practice was teaching him the patterns for the meets and etc. (basically training him for the stuff we’re going to complete in) me and my coach deducted that he needed a different bit and a chin strap, which to my surprise worked very well. I took him to a gaming playday before the next practice, and he did really good!

I forgot to add I’ve been feeling very frustrated because for some reason Murphy’s law is just attacking me at the practices! My coach keeps thinking hes not listening to me(sometimes he really isn’t) but a lot of little things, like when I’m warming up and I say woa is his command to slow down not stop, when I say woaaaahhh and use my seat is when I actually want him to stop and he listens very well to that command but my coach thinks I wanted him to stop but really I just wanted him to break down from a lope. There’s a lot of these little things happening that are like random flukes that never usually happen, and I think she’s starting to think he’s not good enough for me, and that he’s not broke enough. I am just feeling helpless because I feel like an idiot at all the practices because I keep getting more nervous something bad is gonna happen and it makes more fluke things happen. All I want to do is have fun, not win, not full on gallop, not any of that stuff(which is what the team is there for, to have fun) but I just feel like a big let down. And I can hear the coaches talking about me and it just makes me want to cry. And now she wants me to ride 6 days a week which is just ruining the fun out of everything for me. But I made a commitment and I paid the fees and I can’t quit. I want to follow through but it’s just stressful for me now.

At our second apparently he was a little lame for some reason and he’s NEVER had lameness problems, he wasn’t lame the last time I rode him and the next practice he was limping, not noticeable enough for me to notice in the saddle but we all think it’s just soreness. And at the same practice he KICKED OUT at another horse, thank god it was my best friends horse(his best friend horse who he fights with like brothers🙄) and he has NEVER offered to kick in the saddle but i think it was because he was sore and the horse was behind him. It wasn’t that big of a deal but this is just one more thing adding to the whole big picture.

long story short, there’s A BUNCH I left out, but all those things I did for a reason and I’m just feeling so discouraged and I don’t know what to do. And also my horse is ok medically too, I’ve already gone down that route. I just don’t want to be a disappointment to my coach and all I want to do is prove to her I’m a good rider, and I’m as good as the other girls, but it’s just so difficult because I’m the only one not on a older dead broke horse for gaming and reining etc.

Does anyone else have any advice for me? Or words of engagement? Or just something? I just love riding horses and going out to the barn to just have fun, but it’s turned into a HUGE stress for me and I'm scared to go to the barn because I feel like something else is going to happen. I might add I already told them I just wanted to have fun, and my coach is very nice and my advisor too, but they’re very worried about safety, and I don’t want them to think he’s a safety concern. I know that he’s not a safely concern and I trust him and I believe he’s the perfect horse for me to just have fun. I just want to do something to show her I really care about this and I wish I could just magically train my horse up so he could just be perfect so I don’t further embarrass myself😕

thank you to anyone who read this, I kinda just wanted to vent about this.
 

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I think you need to step back and take a breath. He sounds like he is green and was used to putzing around so now he's been thrown into a situation where he is working a lot more than he is used to. He may be getting a little sour because he is doing things he is not used to.

You and your coach are going to have to learn to read each other. I think what you need to do honestly - is - just take a breath. You are on a green horse. He sounds like he's the greenest horse on the team (I know he's broke - but he's not a gaming horse - he's green at it).

Embrace the "Team Loser" concept. You and your horse need to compete only against yourselves. I know the bottom line is that it's a sport and you are in it to win it, but that can't be your end goal right now. Your end goal should be to beat last weekends score (your last weekends score - not anyone elses). You need to make goals that make sense. Find your balance, cut your turns, don't knock the barrels, etc. You worry about you and your horse and nothing else. Be that girl with the best sportsmanship. Be the girls that loses with a smile.

You will be shocked how well and how quickly you start making progress when you stop worrying about where everyone else is and only worry about you and your horse. You go out and you have fun and if you lose, that's ok. It's not about the win right now. It's about a different kind of win.

Don't lose the fun and the love of the ride because that is what matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you need to step back and take a breath. He sounds like he is green and was used to putzing around so now he's been thrown into a situation where he is working a lot more than he is used to. He may be getting a little sour because he is doing things he is not used to.

You and your coach are going to have to learn to read each other. I think what you need to do honestly - is - just take a breath. You are on a green horse. He sounds like he's the greenest horse on the team (I know he's broke - but he's not a gaming horse - he's green at it).

Embrace the "Team Loser" concept. You and your horse need to compete only against yourselves. I know the bottom line is that it's a sport and you are in it to win it, but that can't be your end goal right now. Your end goal should be to beat last weekends score (your last weekends score - not anyone elses). You need to make goals that make sense. Find your balance, cut your turns, don't knock the barrels, etc. You worry about you and your horse and nothing else. Be that girl with the best sportsmanship. Be the girls that loses with a smile.

You will be shocked how well and how quickly you start making progress when you stop worrying about where everyone else is and only worry about you and your horse. You go out and you have fun and if you lose, that's ok. It's not about the win right now. It's about a different kind of win.

Don't lose the fun and the love of the ride because that is what matters.
Thank you, that’s exactly what I needed to hear rn:) I really don’t need to win or anything. I think I’m just going to try and focus on what’s best for jet, and having fun with my friends. 😊
 

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My youngest was competing on Zeus two years ago. He was a two-year-old, and obviously it was a brand new idea for him. She understood she wouldn’t be competitive, but also wanted to give him the training of the new environment. At 13, she was a bit overwhelmed, because it was her first experience of taking a horse to town who had never been.

He acted like any would, and much better than I expected actually, but he was nervous and jumpy, and that was new for her to see in him. “He’s just a colt,” I kept reminding her. When she was near tears, a friend of mine came over who happened to be the parent of the kids winning everything and a trainer. “You are riding the youngest horse here. There is no other two-year-old, or even young horse. He is doing spectacular. No other kid here is doing that.” She felt better, and by the end placed in a couple of the games as Zeus settled down about the environment.

It was good for her to remember that she was doing something different than the other kids, and to stop comparing herself to them. Something about that environment made her forget for a minute. I think you are forgetting everything you are accomplishing. YOU are taking a horse and teaching him something new in a new environment. You are facing odds that the others are not. Remember that.

Also, @farmpony is completely correct in saying to just breathe for a moment. It is good to want to please your coach, but not good to be overly stressed about it. As you practice more and ride more your confidence will improve, and he will get to know you better. Don’t worry!
 

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Welcome to the world of showing and gaming. Riding 6 days a week, on your green (to the games) horse, is exactly what it's going to take to bring you both up to speed as a team. Don't worry so much what other folks think, it's just you and him.

I always tell people who are all wound up at shows, "Ride for the ride, not for the ribbon.". Work on your skills and his, and try to do just one thing better today than you did yesterday. Somedays that might be you groom him better than you did yesterday, nothing to do with riding. It's all about you and him becoming a team and just improving a little bit each time you ride, each time you show.

BREATHE! You can't get anywhere if you pass out from lack of oxygen. ;)

The coaches may be talking about you, but it probably isn't what you're thinking. They may be asking themselves what they can do to help you and him come along. They know you're stressed and worried about everything, so does your horse and that's not helping him. Set reasonable goals for you and the horse. So, if you are gaming or showing on Saturday, focus on one thing you can do better this week from last week. Did you knock over a barrel or 2 or 3? Focus on not knocking over a barrel. Don't worry about the time, think about doing the cleanest ride you've ever done. The time will come when you are riding super precise. Remember that he is not experienced at what you're doing. He has to have time to learn too.

Stick with it until the end of the season and then decide if it's more stress or more fun and decide if you want to continue. Until then, don't worry about it. You'll have good days and bad ones, we all do. Some days the best you can do is to just hang in there. That in itself is progress.
 

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Does anyone else have any advice for me? Or words of engagement? Or just something? I just love riding horses and going out to the barn to just have fun, but it’s turned into a HUGE stress for me
No shame in saying you are in over your head, weren't ready for what you set yourself up for and didn't really know what you needed to know. You sound over horses for the task you set out for and chose something not suited for the job. Your coaches are trying to help but it sounds like you are more interested in doing things your way. Competition is work. Hard work. Along with that work comes fun. But the majority is work. If you enjoy the work then the reward is the fun. If what you want is to have fun without the work then time to switch gears. Use the horse for what he was trained for and find a group to ride with that enjoys the same.

Your horse IS a safety issue if he's kicking out. Murphys law is not attacking you and there is no magical fairy wand that trains your horse. Horse. He isn't human and anthropomorphizing him isn't helping either of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No shame in saying you are in over your head, weren't ready for what you set yourself up for and didn't really know what you needed to know. You sound over horses for the task you set out for and chose something not suited for the job. Your coaches are trying to help but it sounds like you are more interested in doing things your way. Competition is work. Hard work. Along with that work comes fun. But the majority is work. If you enjoy the work then the reward is the fun. If what you want is to have fun without the work then time to switch gears. Use the horse for what he was trained for and find a group to ride with that enjoys the same.

Your horse IS a safety issue if he's kicking out. Murphys law is not attacking you and there is no magical fairy wand that trains your horse. Horse. He isn't human and anthropomorphizing him isn't helping either of you.
lol I know there’s nothing magical that can train my horse for me. I’ve just been feeling frustrated as the whole like motto for the organization is to just have fun. And they even told me before I started that we could make the practices once every other week if it would be too stressful for everyone. Idk I’m just a little frustrated at what “make sure your just having fun!” Turned into. Thank you for your response:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone for your responses!! I do just need to step back for a moment! I definitely need to remember to just be better than my last ride. At my first meet I’m going to just focus on doing it better than the last time! It will be a win to me if we can do the pattern good!! Thanks again everyone:)
 

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No shame in saying you are in over your head, weren't ready for what you set yourself up for and didn't really know what you needed to know. You sound over horses for the task you set out for and chose something not suited for the job. Your coaches are trying to help but it sounds like you are more interested in doing things your way. Competition is work. Hard work. Along with that work comes fun. But the majority is work. If you enjoy the work then the reward is the fun. If what you want is to have fun without the work then time to switch gears. Use the horse for what he was trained for and find a group to ride with that enjoys the same.

Your horse IS a safety issue if he's kicking out. Murphys law is not attacking you and there is no magical fairy wand that trains your horse. Horse. He isn't human and anthropomorphizing him isn't helping either of you.
I find this rather harsh; she's a young rider, trying something new. It's hard enough to be a teenager, and I commend her bravery. She needs encouragement and actual advice, not sarcasm and criticism that only add to her stress. She has been training her horse, and it sounds like the training is coming along.
 

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It's hard to remember this in the moment, but really what will create, not "fun", but joy, is to focus on doing right by your horse. Not on fitting in, or pleasing your coach, not on winning, not even having a ball with your friends. Do your best to do right by your horse, who did not volunteer for this experience, watch him settle down, begin to work with you as a team member, and blossom, and you'll feel the joy of being a horsewoman and not just a rider.
 

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It's hard to remember this in the moment, but really what will create, not "fun", but joy, is to focus on doing right by your horse. Not on fitting in, or pleasing your coach, not on winning, not even having a ball with your friends. Do your best to do right by your horse, who did not volunteer for this experience, watch him settle down, begin to work with you as a team member, and blossom, and you'll feel the joy of being a horsewoman and not just a rider.
Great Advice!!!
 
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