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It sounds like she's been taking your money but not doing the work you're paying her for. Ponying a horse is good for exercise, and taking him on a ponied trail ride once or twice would be helpful so he has an experienced buddy with him. But ponying doesn't train a horse like you can in the saddle. To me it sounds like your horse maybe has 45-60 days on him instead of how many he should have.

I'd get him out of there and maybe try to find someone closer to home or put the miles on him yourself!
 

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Its very difficult to judge something without ever having any contact with the horse.
I could base it off 'what I/we did' with horses and try to include that no two horses deal with things in the same way.

As an older British rider, our horses always had to ride on the roads, tracks and open fields regardless of what discipline they were being aimed at. As soon as they knew what the basic aids/cues meant they went off the property with another horse or a group of horses until we were sure they had the confidence to handle things on their own.

Most would be riding out of an arena after a month of regular work - some less, a few needed more time but that was more down to those horses being excitable and reactive rather than not understanding the cues.

I could understand the horse not coping well with the trail riding side of things if she hasn't had it out much but after that many rides in an arena, the horse should know how to respond well to the cues.

I think if it was me I'd move the horse to a different trainer for a month or two to get the job properly done before I took it home
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Between his two and only ridden trail rides ( I rode him on them and I'm sort of a student rider here ) he was ridden with a small group on country roads near the stable. He was ridden by me and encountered his first cars, one passing on a bridge, and a flock of sheep where he had to be caught up by a bridle rein and led past them. Other than that it was great. He led the group and so was not walking up crowding other horses and his fast fast walk and trot were enjoyable.
 

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she said you said you wanted a trail horse and now you want a reining horse and that takes years." I would have found a different barn and trainer the next day. A horse should be able to turn after 180 days . It should also know how to back. The trainer should have taken the horse on the first trail rides. You paid her for a trail horse , that was never schooled on the trails by trainer. Time to leave that trainer and barn .
 

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In my opinion, a dressage trainer should certainly be intelligent enough to train a trail horse. She was told when she got the horse that you wanted a trail horse. You make a trail horse by riding it on trails. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Her discipline might be dressage, but she certainly should have a clue as to how to train a trail horse.

I have trained a number of trail horses. If someone gave me a horse and said, "I want this horse to have the beginnings of dressage and I will pay you," I would read, study, learn, ask questions, and do everything I could to make sure I was doing what the client requested. I might not be the best trainer, but I certainly would give it my best effort. I'd be out there trying to do dressage. There is no excuse for her lack of training on your horse.
 

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I didn't read any of the replies but this is a huge red flag. She doesn't want to ride the horse in a lesson to show you because she can't.
I have never worked, rode for or sent a horse to a trainer that will not do this.
So after I had been to some lessons I asked for a lesson I will pay for to see her ride so she can tell me how she does it but she
Again, I don't think she's been riding him, hadn't been preparing him for trails. I'd bet she thinks a trail horse is a "dude horse" that simply follows the horse in front without bucking it's passenger off rather than a broke horse that you could safely and easily maneuver through rough terrain.

I'd pull him out before the last month is up. Spend that last months training with another trainer who will put him on the path you want.

Later I texted her about all this and she said you said you wanted a trail horse and now you want a reining horse and that takes years. I told her I have ridden many horses that lightly turned right and left, WTC, stopped and backed up. I don't want a reining horse. I just want a broke horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I would like to thank everyone for your input.

Cleardonkey said "
So just to be clear, you wanted a safe & sane trail horse and enrolled it with a dressage trainer that you bought it from?

May I ask why? This just makes no sense to me."


Because we just moved to Oregon last June. Then my Arabian stallion was killed in a freak accident. Within a week I had bought another horse and since it is a training stable and I don't know any other horse people or trainers AND I had no safe place to keep my horse ( the new 16 acre place had no barn and the fences were a barbwire joke held together with bailing twine) and it seemed like a good place to keep him and get some training done while we fixed the place. This was 6 year old a fine harness horse that was basically a paddock pony. She is a dressage trainer that also does trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Yes I think I have been taken for a ride. Recently I took a 3 month vacation from lessons (out of the nine months he has been there) because I had to concentrate full time on building a barn and redoing all the fences. It is a 6 hour round trip to drive there and back. Then when she said she was ponying him on trail rides (finally) I went up there and rode him on what turned out to be his first ridden trailride. He was with a group. I was shocked at how little he knew. I thought well maybe I just don't know how she has taught him. When I asked to see her ride him so she could show me how she rides him she declined.

Also, when I first bought the horse I took my trailer up there so she could train him to load in my trailer. Then she said she would not do that without my truck or a truck being hooked to it because it wasn't safe. I guess a two horse trailer front end might rise up when a horse is getting on. So I left my trailer there. When she had her truck in the shop and could not use her gooseneck trailer I told her she could use mine. She has taken horses to the vet and still uses it regularly to get hay. But he was never trained but one time to load in my trailer and if they refuse to load she gets after them. She yells and hits him and jerked him around and he did get on but I could see he hated it..Since then, he has loaded in her 5 horse gooseneck. But sometimes he refuses and gets jerked around with a chain over his nose and hit. He finally does get in.

Recently she got a new used 6 horse and into this he was loaded for these trail rides. It is not a step up like he is used to. It is a ramp load and she only had one door open into a dark trailer. It looked like a cave. And sure enough, he did not want to get in there. So he got jerked and beaten. And finally he did get in. This happened twice while I was there.

The thing about my trailer is it was sized for my 14.2 Arabian. This horse is a very up headed 16.2 Saddlebred. Mine is dark blue, not white inside. It is 6' 8" combined horse and stock trailer, it also has a sliding door for loading cattle. I need a taller and wider trailer. The barn owner has such a trailer he would sell. I think my horse would like it. It is bigger, taller and light inside 2 horse slant load. In my month remaining that I have already paid for, I think I will go up there and concentrate not on more lessons, but on securing him a trailer and teaching him to get in myself.

Now that I have a safe place to keep him at home I think my cowboy husband can teach me a lot. He is an experienced horseman, has bred mares and raised and trained their foals into usable ranch horses and trail horses. He knows cowboy dressage, whatever that is. He knows what a broke horse is.

At least this woman has taken really good care of my horse. He is on splendid condition and fit so she must have been doing something with him, but it was in the arena obviously. Really, he does not do much in the arena either. I asked him to move sideways or step over with my leg pressure in the arena but no response
 

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He's really quite elegant! I think the move home would be best for him. I'm surprised how many times he gets "beaten". I wouldn't think that would be the best course of action for a sensitive horse like him....

Good luck to you and him!
 

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As I’m sure you know, having had them before, ASBs are typically wonderful, people pleasing horses. I work with and ride show horses, they are typically up for anything. We trail ride with all kinds of horses, though our trail is very short and just wraps around the edge of the farm in some woods. Even the young show horses go happily through small ditches and up hills.
This sounds like a trainer problem. If she’s a dressage trainer and you want a trail horse, that may not be the best place for your horse. Personally, when a horse is scared of something they are doing for the first time I like to talk them through it and go slow, not hit them and yell. Bribery with treats works, as well as having another horse lead the way and performing an action multiple times in a row until the horse in comfortable with it.
I was riding a somewhat reliable lesson horse this week, he’s huge and doesn’t bend well. He was nervous to weave through cones at the trot, but we did it a bunch of times, just kept going even if we knocked one down or missed one, and eventually got it perfect.
I hope you, your husband, and your horse figure it out! I love ASBs, there’s so much go forward in all of them, even tired lesson horses. Nothing matches the power of a show horse though.
He’s absolutely gorgeous and so are you!
 

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I don't go by the number of rides but I send my horses to my trainer and she rides the snot out of them. When I get them back in 6-7 months, they understand everything I need. She trains using basically dressage cues, so I took dressage lessons, to be on the same page. She trailers them in the trailer loose with cattle. They round up cattle, they ride willingly through chest high water. they back up. They load like a breeze. They neck reign and plow rein. They ride in groups and alone. There's nothing I've found that they can't do.

I bristled that she was yelling at you. She needs to show you the cues she uses and demonstrate to you that they will do it for her, without being hit. I've sent difficult horses I pulled from a kill pen to my trainer and they are trained well when I get them back. My trainer would NEVER take me out on the horses first trail ride and why at 180 rides hasn't he been all over the trails???!!! My gut says this trainer is not really putting the work into this horse and thinks in the last 30 days she will cram him through. This is a bad situation because many horses don't respond well to being rammed through and it ruins their minds.

I also want to know WHY he is not riding with a bit? Saddlebreds are a more high energy breed and a wonderful horse. If he was a trained harness horse, he was used to using a bit, right? My Saddlebred was ex Amish and rescued from a kill pen. Even though he has pep, he's pretty much bomb proof if you're an experienced rider. He probably wouldn't do well with anyone who got scared though.

This just sounds like a trainer who really doesn't want to ride trails and doesn't have obstacle courses, or really want to ride trails. If she can't do the job, then she should send you to somebody who will. This makes me love my trainer more and more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Thank you for responding, Ferocia, I'm not defending her I am trying to explain. The trainer was not yelling and hitting for first time attempts. She was doing this for things he has done before and now decides not to do it. He had gone into the river before (ponied two or three times on that trail, not ridden) When I rode him on what turned out to be his first ridden trail ride he refused to go in. She ordered me to Hit him! Kick him! She yelled at me for letting him turn away from the river (he was about to run himself up on a sharp tree staub) She said he will learn to refuse. Her way is to not let a horse refuse to do something they already know (although in a first ridden trail ride going into the river was not something he was very familiar with). If you let a horse refuse to do something they already know this can become a lifelong problem is her philosophy. I am not defending her, I am just explaining.

That second ridden trail ride of his life- climbing up on a dam she wanted to take pictures of the riders. She yelled at me for "about to ride him off a cliff". I was trying to get him to back up, tying to see saw him back from the edge. The horse does not seem to know any cue for backing up. Would a horse be so stupid as to walk off a cliff?

For instance, loading into a trailer. This was not, in her opinion, a frightened horse that does not know how to load into a trailer. That requires a whole different technique. It was in her mind a stubborn horse, loaded many times in multiple kinds of trailers and trailered all the way across the US from New Jersey. Who decided not today am I going to load into this trailer. For stubborn horses, when they back away from the trailer you are supposed to make it not their idea but your idea. You make them back up and back up and back up. Stepping toward the trailer is rewarded by praise and release of pressure and any more stubborn refusal it is not their idea it is your idea. Granted, it seemed a bit over the top to me backing him up to be jerking on an over the nose stud chain. But he did get in. I hope this stubborn refusal will not become a habit

Addictedtohorses. Thank you for responding. Why is he not ridden in a bit? When I bought the horse he has been ridden in a snaffle. They had had him for about a month. These dressage riders seem to ride on constant contact. They hold the horse back while legging or spurring forward to drive the horse up into the bridle for collection. I am not a dressage rider but this is just my impression. Then she said my hands were not soft. She said the signals I was giving him were confusing him and hurting him and wanted to give lessons in the bitless bridle I used to use for my Arab. The horse plow reins. You have to haul him left or right. She said eventually I could make him light, Well, in that bitless bridle on a trail ride with others he walks up and crowds other horses and mares who are plainly annoyed and might kick. He even bit another horse on the rump. He does not rate. I get yelled at for holding him back. But she does not tell what to me do. I hurt my arms and shoulders holding that horse back so strongly they were sore for days.

I just bought a new snaffle bridle. It does not have any of those fancy nosebands or cavessons. Dressage horses are supposed to be so light and willing, then why do dressage riders use all kinds of straps to force their mouths shut? I am going to bring him home and go back to the eggbutt snaffle I started riding him with when I first got him. Work him every day with the guidance of my horseman husband. The ranch across the road is a total of 20,000 acres. With their permission, I would just lead him all over on foot to start with. That is my plan.
 

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Depends on the horse. Depends on the trainer.

At one point in time, I send Red to a trainer for 30 days. Just wanted him to be softer in the bit, work on flying lead changes, and just be more broke. He had a little improvement in the 30 days but not much, but I thought that was okay.
(later learned.... this trainer sucks, quite frankly)

Went to a different trainer later that year for a riding lesson. He hopped on Red for like 10 minutes, and I rode the rest of the time.
He had him riding better in 10 minutes that the other trainer had in 30 days. I'm not joking.

Some trainers have that "it" factor. Others do not.

I would be very mad in your situation but in the trainer's defense, it sounds like you did not ask what specific things she does or works on, or what you want to achieve from this training.
You need to always ask lots of questions, and be very specific about what you want, and also keep open lines of communication with the trainer throughout training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Granted, Beu159, I was not specific. I had a fine harness horse I asked to be trained for a trail horse. She trains dressage horses, hunters, eventers as well as trail horses so thats what I asked for. I rode him on is first 2 ridden trail rides of his life and he was like a little 1000lb kid at a piknik. I thought he knew more than that. Well, come to think of it - the greatest horse I have ever known who lived 40 years, she must have been ridden thousands upon thousands of trail miles. Not just trail, cross country over rough terrain, even in storms at night. To the sea and back over forested mountain ranges.

Well, after the lesson today it turns out he knows (in the arena) more than I thought. And I know less than I thought. Its that I just don't know how to ride him. I was giving him confusing signals and doing many wrong things. He has the beginnings of a consistent plant a foot canter depart. He backs lightly, straight and true. I learned how to rate him. He wants to please, he looks for that pressure release When I relax he relaxes.
 

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And I know less than I thought. Its that I just don't know how to ride him. I was giving him confusing signals and doing many wrong things.
And this is a very good point to bring up.

Most of the time, it is not enough to just send your horse to the trainer. The rider needs to LEARN and take lessons from the trainer, on how to ride the horse that was just trained.
 
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