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View Full Version : You can lead a horse to water....



Carol O
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:02 PM
I have a lovely 24 yo DWB FEI Schoolmaster. Last night, I found out a local rider had to cancel her dressage lesson (with our mutual trainer) because her ott tb is lame. He is a first level horse, she a first level rider. I offered my PSG gelding for her to ride. She turned me down, letting herself down IMO. This is not the first time this rider has said no. Okay, she is young... maybe 17. My boy is quiet, well mannered, works over the back from the seat, light in the hand... He's perfect. I don't think these kids understand that it is a rare opportunity to get to ride a horse of this calliber.

When someone offers you an opportunity like this, TAKE THEM UP ON IT!!!!!!

Ambrey
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:06 PM
Oh my gosh, I'd be afraid to mess up your horse if it were me! Very nice offer, though :)

Just Walter
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:06 PM
wow. Raising both hands! Can I come play???? :)

Seriously now, maybe it's her own insecurities coming out?

alacrity
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:13 PM
I would give my left foot to ride a horse like that!! (Because I'd need my right to drive to your barn :lol:)

But seriously, I have been so so lucky to have been offered the ride on many different horses from very green to accomplished schoolmasters. Each has been such a fantastic learning experience and I certainly hope I've expressed my gratitude to their owners properly.

Carol O
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:38 PM
I would give my left foot to ride a horse like that!! (Because I'd need my right to drive to your barn :lol:)

But seriously, I have been so so lucky to have been offered the ride on many different horses from very green to accomplished schoolmasters. Each has been such a fantastic learning experience and I certainly hope I've expressed my gratitude to their owners properly.

I love your attitude!

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:40 PM
Wow, lovely opportunity you're giving someone...but I wouldn't take it either.

I've had enough people at the barn sneer at me that I wasn't "deserving" of a particular horse. I would feel uncomfortable the entire time I rode. Then undoubtedly, someone would feel the need to "help" me by telling me how whatever I did wrong would surely wreck the beautiful schoolmaster.

I'll just keep ruining my own horse and avoid the controversy...

Carol O
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:41 PM
Oh my gosh, I'd be afraid to mess up your horse if it were me! Very nice offer, though :)

My horse is sweet! I worry more about the rider's egos with him. He is wonderful though; he will go perfectly if the rider is perfect. If the rider is less than perfect, he will still offer opportunities for the rider to feel how it should be.

Carol O
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:43 PM
Wow, lovely opportunity you're giving someone...but I wouldn't take it either.

I've had enough people at the barn sneer at me that I wasn't "deserving" of a particular horse. I would feel uncomfortable the entire time I rode. Then undoubtedly, someone would feel the need to "help" me by telling me how whatever I did wrong would surely wreck the beautiful schoolmaster.

I'll just keep ruining my own horse and avoid the controversy...

Did you ever ruin a teacher by not knowing the proper answer to a question? Please, for your own sake, if someone offers you an opportunity like this TAKE THEM UP ON IT! They would not offer unless they were sure you and the horse could handle it.

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 07:50 PM
It's not them, or the horse...I just really hate the sneers. Really, really, really hate.

If it were at a private barn, or someone's house, sure! Anytime! At the big boarding barn where I ride...Nope.

Hell, I used to get accused of "ruining" the lesson horses. Once, when I'd been riding a total of...4 weeks (that was about 4 years ago now...I'm practically an expert now ;) ) someone came into the arena where I was practice riding a big old Thoroughbred schoolie. Patient old guy, a joy to ride. We were walking and...big finish...POSTING TROTTING. This woman comes in and BELLOWS at me that my horse isn't tracking up, and if I wasn't going to ride him properly I shouldn't ride at all. I was humiliated. And confused...I was all..."uh, we're on the track? The track around the outside of the ring?"

Anyway, since then, a few others have made similar comments...so I only ride my own horse. It's just safer. One of the trainers even started to tell me that my jumping position was wrecking that nice bay TB for his nice owner...and my coach stopped her, telling her "SHE'S THE OWNER!"

You can even see the attitude in this forum, fairly often. People are SOOOOOOOOO critical. I don't want to even be accused of "ruining" a $100,000+ horse.

Sithly
Sep. 22, 2009, 08:27 PM
Wow, I would jump at the chance! I rarely turn down a ride (and only if I feel the horse is dangerous). How generous of you to offer!



It's not them, or the horse...I just really hate the sneers. Really, really, really hate.

If it were at a private barn, or someone's house, sure! Anytime! At the big boarding barn where I ride...Nope.

Hell, I used to get accused of "ruining" the lesson horses. Once, when I'd been riding a total of...4 weeks (that was about 4 years ago now...I'm practically an expert now ;) ) someone came into the arena where I was practice riding a big old Thoroughbred schoolie. Patient old guy, a joy to ride. We were walking and...big finish...POSTING TROTTING. This woman comes in and BELLOWS at me that my horse isn't tracking up, and if I wasn't going to ride him properly I shouldn't ride at all. I was humiliated. And confused...I was all..."uh, we're on the track? The track around the outside of the ring?"

Anyway, since then, a few others have made similar comments...so I only ride my own horse. It's just safer. One of the trainers even started to tell me that my jumping position was wrecking that nice bay TB for his nice owner...and my coach stopped her, telling her "SHE'S THE OWNER!"

You can even see the attitude in this forum, fairly often. People are SOOOOOOOOO critical. I don't want to even be accused of "ruining" a $100,000+ horse.

Wow, that barn sounds like a toxic environment. :eek:

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 08:32 PM
^ great arena, my coach is awesome, and the care can't be beat.

Some of the PEOPLE, well, you takes the good and you takes the bad.

Just trying to shed light on why some lower-level riders might turn down such a good thing. It probably has nothing to do with the horse OR the OP.

Ambrey
Sep. 22, 2009, 09:08 PM
Ah, be the anti-toxin in the toxic environment.

I vote we ship Carol's horse to rugbygirl for a day and then all stand around the arena and tell her what a great job she's doing in a REALLY LOUD VOICE!

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 09:20 PM
^ aw, I'd see through the insincerity :lol:

I can't ride for crap. Save the good horses for the good riders. Like my coach said, I'm not exactly a natural talent. I appreciate the chances I've had to ride very talented horses, but the real truth is probably that there are people much more deserving.

I do this for fun, and the headaches of some things just aren't worth it. Me and mine will be over there, drinking beer after our test and being thrilled with 7s for our walk :) Feel free to come join ;)

JRG
Sep. 22, 2009, 09:24 PM
Maybe the young rider needs a little more confidence to be able to take someone up on a terrific offer like this.

I was reminded quite recently that someones lack of confidence made them feel uncomfortable to use the arena at the same time I was working.

As a fellow rider I was so upset that they felt they had to "ask" to use the arena and I hope I rectified the situation.

Before you wonder why I have gone on this little story, it is simple. She may be thinking you and your horse are out of her league and you don't realize it.

Try making the offer through your coach, maybe let her have a little time to adjust to riding he horse before you pop in to see how the lesson was going.

Then again, I maybe living under a rock and the kid may be being ...you know.

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 09:29 PM
I was reminded quite recently that someones lack of confidence made them feel uncomfortable to use the arena at the same time I was working.

Yup, I've been that rider too. Even the choice of language here intimidates me. You are a serious rider, at a high level (yeah, I'm assuming) and I'm just a crappy, for-fun Training Level rider out to play while you are there to WORK. Of course I'm going to ask if it bothers you to have me in there! More probably, I'll just go hack around outside instead. Witness the thread in this section on how people "don't know proper ring etiquette" and "get in the way of my lateral work." I'm going to take my COTH knowledge and try to be considerate of you!

It might be dumb...but you can't change how us insecure beginners feel if you don't know about it, I guess.

Ambrey
Sep. 22, 2009, 09:51 PM
I can't ride for crap. Save the good horses for the good riders. Like my coach said, I'm not exactly a natural talent. I appreciate the chances I've had to ride very talented horses, but the real truth is probably that there are people much more deserving.\

I think that's missing Carol's point entirely. Good riders become good riders by riding good horses. A schoolmaster can help you grow :)

I think assuming those who are negative are right and those who are positive are insincere is a pretty sad way to live :(

rugbygirl
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:04 PM
Hmm, if you put it like that it does sound sad and pathetic.

Try it this way...

This is my hobby. I have a very demanding job where most of my day is spent fighting uphill battles. I work with many fantastic people, but I am a "fixer" and so generally what I deal with are problems/miscommunications/issues. I get my share of negativity.

When I go to the barn, I go to have fun. Enjoy my horse. Improve over time, sure. I'm competitive and don't like to do things badly...but I can't fight uphill battles all the time. Not at my hobby.

Someone once made the observation, that I was never really going to "fit in" in the English Riding/Equestrian world. I just sort of agreed. I'll never have the free time to spend 5 days a week practicing. I'm lucky to get two trail rides and an arena session in. My horse can go 2 weeks without seeing me. I'm always going to feel like I'm just wasting arena space as long as people like the "tracking up" lady are around. And that lady is EVERYWHERE in the horse world.

You get sick of fighting, you know? Hence why I turned down the opportunity to lease the schoolmaster. True story. Bought my own Off-Chuckwagon Circuit TB instead. I could afford him, and he didn't buck me off. Sold.

I guess this thread just triggered a sore spot with me. There are a lot of reasons that people might turn down that opportunity. I just maybe shed some light on why.

suzier444
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:11 PM
Generally, I'm with those who would be afraid to screw up the horse...but this sounds like an opportunity to ride it in a lesson with a trainer trusted by all parties, which sounds just about ideal to me!!! Schoolmaster + trainer = heaven. What a kind and generous offer.

Ambrey
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:14 PM
I also wouldn't have used the word pathetic. I guess I shouldn't have used the word sad either. Just sounds like kind of a downer, and when everyone else is trying to put you down, why help them by putting down yourself?

I totally get you that it should be fun. And I get that you feel no need to defend yourself. Just be a little nicer to yourself.

DreamsOfGP
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:25 PM
To the OP: That was a really nice offer you made. I wish I was at your barn:-)

To add to the rest of the discussion... It took a long time before I built up enough confidence to have taken up that kind of offer. I remember one of my first lessons as a working student. My trainer yelled to me, "You are sitting on a $50K horse on a $5K saddle. How do you feel?" Well, then I felt even more nervous! Of course that was one of the lowest valued horses there, so I had to get over it pretty quickly:-)

I've learned that there are always going to be toxic people around. Bottom line is they are the ones who are insecure and probably jealous of you for whatever reason. You might not ride as well as they are, but they might feel threatened because you are prettier, nicer, younger, or who knows what. People are ridiculous. I was lucky enough to come across an FEI horse. I immediately fell in love with him. He was given up by another rider who said he was unhappy doing dressage, so was sent to be a trail/pasture horse. I slowly brought him back for 2 years and have never had a partnership like we developed. That horse would do ANYTHING for me. He was my schoolmaster. Other people had gotten violently thrown from him and he never once tried to get rid of me. Heck, I sware at times he read my mind and I didn't use any aids. I took this horse from standing in a field back to being ready to go PSG. Complete strangers would come up to us at shows/clinics and comment on what a treat it was to watch us work together. Of couse, complete strangers also came up to me on occasion and said I had no right to be riding such a nice horse. Um, okay... My conclusion is that if your horse is happy and healthy with you riding it, making progress in a good direction, then you must be doing more right than wrong! Oh gosh, I could go on about other crazy horse people stories. People love to rip me apart, but my horses are some of the happiest around and frequently win at shows:-) To all you less than secure riders, please ignore them and have fun!

alacrity
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:43 PM
Rugbygirl, I'm not going to go all pseudo-self-help-book on you but I wanted to relay my experience because I used to feel the same way. I would go to the barn at 9pm to ride alone and avoid the editorial comments from those who just HAVE to get that jab in. What that experience taught me is to seek out places to ride where I feel comfortable. I wasn't learning or taking chances in order to advance at that barn because I was constantly afraid of screwing up and being laughed at. It's no way to spend my outside of work time. Getting out of that environment has changed a lot - I'm still a bit guarded but I have come a long way toward believing in myself and branching out to ride different horses.

Based on your posts here, I would strongly consider looking for a different facility that suits your interests better. If your own coach is putting you down, that's just sad. Most of us know that dressage isn't all sunshine and pelhams and butterflies but come on... we're not paying our coaches to be told that we're hopeless!

Hey if you are local let's flock together... I like to drink beer and have yet to get a 7 on my walk because I haven't shown yet! :lol:

meupatdoes
Sep. 22, 2009, 11:58 PM
Carol O, where do you live?
I'm on my way!


I remember that I learned to ride on other people's horses and thus have offered a lovely, non-intimidating, Second Level+ horse who also hunts 10yos around 3' courses with lead changes out to people in both the h/j and dressage worlds and been turned down.

When he lived at a hunter barn and I was studying abroad the teenagers at the barn could not possibly have been less interested in riding him. Finally an adult amateur hunted him around the 3' and he was in the ribbons with my trainer telling the girls, "See what you passed up?"
My bad for not importing something from Europe for them.

One of the most difficult aspects of learning dressage in particular is that people are so unwilling to lend out their horses. Even simply riding a different horse at the same level as the horse you normally ride would be educational for someone with limited access to different horses. But every 2nd/3rd level amateur out there thinks they are the only one who won't mess up their steed.
Then someone posts that they are stuck on a TL/1stL horse and don't have access to nicer horses, or they want to know what a lead change feels like, I offer up mine, and the same person who was just complaining they had nothing to ride ignores it.
Maybe when he is scoring 65% at fourth level people will deem him worthy.

The offer perennially stands, but it is not like anyone will take me up on it.

Sithly
Sep. 23, 2009, 01:46 AM
I'm a for-fun rider, too. I like to relax and drink beer and watch my horse graze on the lawn. I'd rather go horse camping than horse showing any day of the week.

I just can't imagine enjoying a barn where other people continually put me down. Especially if it got to the point where their unsolicited opinions were influencing how I spent my riding time. And especially if my own coach didn't stick up for me.

I think barns like that have a high concentration of nasty people, and/or bad leadership that allows that type of environment to flourish. Lord, even the snotty teens at my barn have better manners than that (and if they didn't, the BO would let them know it).

Sorry, Ruby, I know you didn't mean to derail the thread. I'm not trying to self-help you or anything; I just wanted to put in my two cents. The people at your barn obviously find their behavior acceptable, but the rest of the wide world would not. That behavior is not okay, you should not have to put up with it, and not every barn is like that. Just for the record. :)

Anyway, to get back on topic, I wouldn't worry too much about screwing up a horse. They're easy to fix (it's people that are hard). I certainly wouldn't worry about screwing up a horse in a lesson with your trainer right there. I know for me, an hour of my crappy riding would be fixed about three seconds after my trainer's butt touched the saddle. :lol:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 23, 2009, 02:43 AM
But it is amazing what other horses can teach you.

I took a lesson recently on one of my trainer's horses - 9 years old, but still very green (you know, the shoemaker's children...!). It jostled my thinking - I was so aware that this mare was such a blank slate, and everything I did had repercussions. The gift was then bringing that back to my boy. There's so much to be said for creating the partnership, but it's also easier to take everything for granted.

I think it would have been a wonderful opportunity to think about your riding from a different perspective, and then take that back to your own horse.

Letting other people's negative attitudes prevent you from doing what you please only shortchanges you. You can always smile and say, "Well, BLESS YOUR HEART!"

slc2
Sep. 23, 2009, 04:53 AM
I think it's judgemental and makes some very unfair assumptions about the person who isn't here to speak for herself.

There are so many OTHER reasons as to why someone would turn down an invitation to ride an older schoolmaster.

Her family or young SO may simply feel she shouldn't hop on other people's horses. She may have just been having a bad teenager day. She may have a limited amount of time at the barn. Or she simply doesn't want to ride while everyone stands around and watches and criticizes.

She may simply not be interested in riding a further trained horse. People here say all the time that they don't want the pressure, the complexity and the effort of riding like that. They just want to have fun. It can't be right for some people and not for others. It's either 'everyone's different' and 'Surf's Up' or it isn't. She may be more interested in jumping or eventing.

We also hear many times here that getting on further trained horse is 'cheating' - it's often implied here that it's 'lazy' or 'unfair' or 'short cut'. Maybe she reads too much here...LOL.

There are so many possibilities it's unfair to judge her and assume she's ungrateful or ignorant. The question can be asked very independently of the comments about this young person.

Some people simply don't get a lot of satisfaction from riding around on a schoolmaster. They may have done so before, and seen how little that translates to training their own horse at a lower level - there's a world of difference. It's not really doing the tricks that's hard, it's communicating and preserving that basic balance, throughness and collection that is so difficult.

I've enjoyed immensely some of the schoolmasters I've ridden. Some had very poor training or their basic schooling wasn't kept up, so 'doing the tricks' was distinctly unpleasant and unsatisfying.

Other times, it's been a great experience. For the person who wants to train their own horse, well, they may just want to concentrate on that.

JRG
Sep. 23, 2009, 06:19 AM
One of the most difficult aspects of learning dressage in particular is that people are so unwilling to lend out their horses. Even simply riding a different horse at the same level as the horse you normally ride would be educational for someone with limited access to different horses. But every 2nd/3rd level amateur out there thinks they are the only one who won't mess up their steed.
Then someone posts that they are stuck on a TL/1stL horse and don't have access to nicer horses, or they want to know what a lead change feels like, I offer up mine, and the same person who was just complaining they had nothing to ride ignores it.
Maybe when he is scoring 65% at fourth level people will deem him worthy.

The offer perennially stands, but it is not like anyone will take me up on it.

I think it is a great opportunity when people are willing to offer their horse. I too have offered my horse, though he is not to the level of FEI but he has a lot to teach. I just have to address one statement. Not every Ammy think someone will mess up there horse, we may just be few and far between. LOL

I too missed the angle that someone may just have different goals, and that is ok.

Carol O
Sep. 23, 2009, 08:34 AM
It's not them, or the horse...I just really hate the sneers. Really, really, really hate.

If it were at a private barn, or someone's house, sure! Anytime! At the big boarding barn where I ride...Nope.

Hell, I used to get accused of "ruining" the lesson horses. Once, when I'd been riding a total of...4 weeks (that was about 4 years ago now...I'm practically an expert now ;) ) someone came into the arena where I was practice riding a big old Thoroughbred schoolie. Patient old guy, a joy to ride. We were walking and...big finish...POSTING TROTTING. This woman comes in and BELLOWS at me that my horse isn't tracking up, and if I wasn't going to ride him properly I shouldn't ride at all. I was humiliated. And confused...I was all..."uh, we're on the track? The track around the outside of the ring?"

Anyway, since then, a few others have made similar comments...so I only ride my own horse. It's just safer. One of the trainers even started to tell me that my jumping position was wrecking that nice bay TB for his nice owner...and my coach stopped her, telling her "SHE'S THE OWNER!"

You can even see the attitude in this forum, fairly often. People are SOOOOOOOOO critical. I don't want to even be accused of "ruining" a $100,000+ horse.

I understand the concern. My place is private. No prying eyes. NE Wisconsin, Meupatdoes.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 23, 2009, 08:54 AM
Carol O - I truly do understand your frustration. In my lab, I welcome undergraduates. Whether they plan on going to graduate school for a PhD or med school, the experience they can have in my lab is an offer few appreciate. For the undergraduates who make a commitment, they become coauthors on papers and I will take them to meetings. I know what this will do for them. For the others, they'd rather "have a fun senior year before the grind."

YOU know what you have so generously offered, to help someone in their journey. Something you (and obviously so many others on this board) would have killed for. And you see the incredible, missed opportunity.

classicsporthorses
Sep. 23, 2009, 10:08 AM
I always tell my students, "ride a horse that is better/more skilled than you". My daughter now rides my 21 year old OTTB-who was a level 7 jumper and no kidding cleaned up as a western pleasure horse and at gaming-he's 17.1 I have had him 12+ years now

He TEACHES her SO Much now. While she is just going over 2 footers, he is so honest but does not just "give" it to her. She has to ask correctly, be balanced and do it RIGHT. I adore this old man, despite his foibles b/c he has become such a good teacher.

alacrity
Sep. 23, 2009, 10:26 AM
The offer perennially stands, but it is not like anyone will take me up on it.

Maybe I'll be the first. Where are you located? PM if you'd like.

dbadaro
Sep. 23, 2009, 10:34 AM
pick me! pick me!!! i would LOVE an opportunity like that! i was just thinking that in the shower this morning how lovely it would be to take a lesson on a schoolmaster. *sigh* do you live in florida????........lol

JSwan
Sep. 23, 2009, 10:44 AM
When someone offers you an opportunity like this, TAKE THEM UP ON IT!!!!!!

Decades ago - I did! If it wasn't for kind people who took me under their wing I'd have never had the opportunities I did. I was a kid who walked or bicycled to the barn, worked in exchange for lessons - a real barn rat. My first time foxhunting, my first xc jump, my first extended trot - those were gifts given to me by excellent horsemen who knew how important it was to mentor. They were the ones who taught me to braid. Clip. Wrap. Condition. Care of tack and horse. It was worth every second of labor.

I don't know why the girl declined the offer - perhaps she was just shy, or worried about what her parents would say, or maybe a little scared. I hope one day she takes you up on your offer - because... oh my. What a tremendous opportunity. :)

myvanya
Sep. 23, 2009, 10:46 AM
I can see both sides. I have taken people up on the offer to ride schoolmasters and turned them down; there are reasons for both. I know I can learn from riding a school master, but as an example, I recently had a lesson scheduled with my trainer. I work for my lessons as she is a very good trainer who i really can't afford to ride with, so I have a limited number of rides with her. My horse pulled a muscle the day before my lesson with her. My good friend offerred to let me use her 4th level horse in the lesson, but I really wanted to use my horse, since I am essentially training him on my own, so I could get the trainers help. If I had unlimited lessons, I would absolutley have taken her up on it and typically do ride her horse whenever I get the chance even if it is just walking her around. Yes, I would have benefited form the lesson on my friend's horse and she was generous to offer it, but I felt like I would receive more benefit from my limited lessons by waiting to take one on my horse.

So, the OP made an amazingly generous offer. For whatever reason, the offer wasn't accepted; but that doesn't make the other person ungrateful or insane. She may be one of those things, but I think it is more likely we just don't have all the facts. :winkgrin:

mp
Sep. 23, 2009, 11:43 AM
Interesting thread. I was watching a friend ride a few months ago. She'd just gotten her horse back from several months of full training at another barn and was taking a lesson with our regular instructor. I wanted to see how they were doing. Her horse is about the same level as mine -- TL for me; 1st with someone who knows what she's doing. ;)

After her lesson was over, she asked me if I wanted to ride her horse. Now, she's had him all his life and I've admired him the whole time. He's just a really nice horse. And I said "no."

Why? I'm not really sure. She's a good friend, not intimidating in any way. I knew she wasn't asking just to be nice. So two seconds after my initial refusal, I jumped up and said "What's wrong with me? Hell, yes, I'd like to ride him!" And I enjoyed every minute of it. He felt just as great as I thought he would.

Maybe there's something about riding someone else's horse that is just too personal. On occasion, I've offered to let someone ride my horse. I get either "Oh, no, I'd mess him up." or "God, he's too hot for me." The last one really cracks me up. These aren't unskilled riders. And I'm 57 years old. How stupid would I be if I rode an unreliable horse? But then I know my horse, too.

Bobblehead
Sep. 23, 2009, 11:54 AM
The offer perennially stands, but it is not like anyone will take me up on it.

I will!! How far are you from Maine? I haven't gotten to lead changes yet and would dearly love to get some experience with them.

Ruby, the situation you describe is not what I would call "sad" or "pathetic." I would call it unbelievably rude and unacceptable. Honestly, I don't think you should put up with it. I often get irritated at the teenage bragging/competitiveness at my own barn, but there is nothing anywhere near as mean-spirited as what you're talking about. Is there another place where you can ride/board?