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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Boyfriend, Garrett and I are very different when it comes to horses. I love them and ride constantly. Garrett on the other hand is intimidated by them. When we first met I was in the middle of a busy semester and wasnt riding often. He figured horses were a hobby I had out grown and didnt take my horse experience or love for them seriously and was trying to convenience me to sell them. :-x like that would ever happen.

Anyway during our winter break, he would sometimes drop me off at the barn, then it turned in to him staying and watching me ride. Then one day to my surprise he went out to the field to catch them with me.
He seemed more comfortable with Hannah my two and half year old QH filly so I taught him how to halter and lead her, now he comes out with me every week and will groom her and lead her around while I ride Grady.

Well two weeks ago while we were out with the horses I caught he "snuggling" her and started teasing him about it, he laughed along with me but then held her face and said Nah I like her, she should be my horse. And told me that he want to learn to ride her, but that hes still nervous just being on the ground with her.
So this week i taught him how to lung her and he did GREAT!

I have given lots of riding lessons but Ive never worked with anyone who has a fear of horses, so I am a little lost on where to go from here so my question is, is there any good trust building exercises that can help him feel more comfortable around her.
 

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He doesn't sound like he has a "fear" of horses, more like he is just inexperienced or uncomfortable around an animal so large and unpredictable. Which is actually good I think, because you don't have to get over "fear".

I'd do a lot of ground work doing things you know your horse will be fine with. Tell him what the horse will do, like if you are lunging tell him if you say "halt" she halts, so he can get used to the idea that he can accurately predict the horses behaviour which will give him a somewhat illusion of control. Control makes everyone feel safe.

Then move onto saddling, rugging, picking out feet, and eventually riding, and maybe just do it for 5 minutes the first time, literally get him on and get him off even. Then go longer and longer, but just make sure your horse is good with everything you tell him to do. So when it comes to mounting ensure she will stand stock still, ensure the saddle won't slip etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! And yea discomfort is a better word then fear. I have an obstacle course which I use for ground work, like lunging over poles and jumps, water and large steps. that might give him a chance to have fun with her, and for her to do more then just move around him.

Do you think I should lung her with him on her I usually do this with my younger riders to improver their balance. but I think will also be good for him so he gets comfortable with her movement and knows what to expect ie. speed, and smoothness?
 

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Thanks! And yea discomfort is a better word then fear. I have an obstacle course which I use for ground work, like lunging over poles and jumps, water and large steps. that might give him a chance to have fun with her, and for her to do more then just move around him.

Do you think I should lung her with him on her I usually do this with my younger riders to improver their balance. but I think will also be good for him so he gets comfortable with her movement and knows what to expect ie. speed, and smoothness?
I wouldn't move to speed until he can balance himself. I usually give my friends pony rides at a walk and then let them loose to walk. Then when they're ready, we trot on the lunge but that's a long ways away.

But some don't even want to trot, they just want to be on my horse bareback :)

You can start him but I would try to find him a trainer if he wants to pursue it some more and then you can help him practice.

Either way, lucky you for having a boyfriend who has an interest in horses!!! :p
 

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yeah definatly stay on the lunge at walk for a bit, nothing worse than moving ahead before your'e ready. Sounds like he's doing good though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yea I was thinking about that I give lessons about 20 hours a week but I have a feeling If I tried giving him lessons he may respond to me the way kids respond to when a parent tries to teach them something... I think Ill start him slow though like you said and I ride bareback all the time maybe Ill ask him if he wants to sit on her while I lead her around...
and thanks I am excited because he was exhausting me with his whole sell your horses bit BLAH!! hahah glad where past that!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well he used be around horses when he was younger but never really was able to connect or anything with any of them.. and it doesnt help that he fell off of a big cutting gelding so he just kinda connects big horses, like my Gelding, to falling and getting hurt. which sucks cause hell hold and walk Grady but THATS IT haha even though hes was more experienced then Hannah haha
 

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so he just kinda connects big horses, like my Gelding, to falling and getting hurt. which sucks cause hell hold and walk Grady but THATS IT haha even though hes was more experienced then Hannah haha
Well he'll come around :) All he needs is a loooot of time. Take it nice and slow
 

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How broke is your 2.5 yo mare? I would think you would want to start him on a seasoned well broke and solid horse. My 5yo spooked in the arena the other night. He did a jump and large sidestep before he gained his composure. To a seasoned rider it would have meant nothing. My trainer complimented my horse on maintaining his cool.

I was shaking.

If he has any intimidation I would suggest you let him ground bond with the mare. Grooming. Manners. But put his bum in a saddle attached to a well broke horse until he has his confidence and can handle himself and the young mare.

I would be worried that any oops with the mare could sour your boyfriend against horses completely. Even a silly stumble or trip. Up high, a trip can be heart stopping to a newbie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hannah is awesome! I know that she is young and you never know with young horses. But she is very well broke. I have been working with her since she was 17 months she stops on a dime by just say whoa and I have put alot of people on her she was bred perfectly! beautiful conformation, and has never spooked at anything I did alot of desensitizing with her and still do. I ride her bareback mostly with just a halter and lead she neck reins like an old champ, cars, dogs motorcycles, other horses she is awesome my pride and joy!

I would never put him on her if I didnt 100% trust her. and I also warm her up before I put anyone on her, but I have never had anything happen all the time I have had her and if that who he wants to ride and connect with by all means that is fine with me!!
note: we are not trail riding or will doing anything outside of a controlled area for a while.
 

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I agree with Aghsam. Use a seasoned horse. Besides, to me, a 2.5 year old is too young to be used as a lungeline lesson horse; hard on joints to carry a rider around and around a small circle.

When people are venturing out into unknown territory it's best to limit their exposure to unexpected and scary things. in fact, the more he learn how to "predict" horse behavior, the safer he'll be. If he can predict that such and such a place might cause a hrose to feel spooky or that pinned ears means the horse is angry and beware a bite or a kick, he will safer. not knowing how to read the signs is what makes horses so scary and bewildering. I KNOW that I can make 17hh Zulu move over, away from me. Knowing that makes me feel safer. Teach him how to move a horse on the ground and he will grasp hold of a great secret; horses mostly want to get along and can , for the most part, be easily intimidated by humans even though much bigger than us.
 

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When my husband and I were dating we went through something similar. He had never been around horses and I had three that I spent time with everyday.

First he watched me from behind the fence, then he helped me feed, then we did some sitting bareback out in the field talking. He was there the night my mare had her foal and he loved it! Finally we graduated to late night moonlight bareback rides, him on my 20 year old gelding. About 8 months into our relationship he showed up one day with a trailer and his own new horse! He knew how much they meant to me, the fact that I would ALWAYS have horses, and how good lookin I thought a man was on a horse! I married him three months later!

I agree with what everyone said about putting him on a babysitter. It only takes once for some people to get hurt and become afraid or in your case even more so. My hub has yet to have his first fall in 9 years of riding and I do everything possible to keep him safe. I also started him out bareback, no lessons, just "here sit on him for a bit while I do this" and "hey can you hold her for a while" like you are doing it now! I didn't get preachy or correct, I just told him what he did well and encouraged him. Being timid and on a dead broke horse he learned to be soft and gentle right from the start. Sounds like he's on the right path! Hope it all works out for you guys, he sounds like a gem!
 

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Yeah amen to that, bsms. This guy that had a thing for me asked me if he could ride this horse I was working him (and it was fine with the owner) but omg I've never been so frustrated in my life. He's all LOOK HOW FAST I CAN GO and was slamming on her back and refusing to accept he had to learn rather than just kick her and hang on and that he was just the best rider ever. Those kind of people drive me crazy.... urgh lol. Someone else can teach him! NOT me. Same with my future bf.. he can pay for his own lessons on his own horse, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yea when we get to the riding part I will definitely put him on Grady. But Hannah will do for some leading and some light riding in the arena but honestly I dont see him doing that for awhile. lunging and leading and learning horse behavior and tack parts will probably be the agenda for the next several weeks...
Thanks for all the advice and Thank you Garrett is an amazing guy and seeing him bond with Hannah just helps me see how much he wants this to work!
 
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