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CHT
Feb. 3, 2011, 04:31 PM
I need help to encourage a green rider to keep trying with her green horse, and ideas to help resolve her issues.

Horse is nice; smooth, kind and suitably built to be easy to ride. Horse does lack some adaptability and isn't all that forgiving. With owner she will pull down and stop when trotting, or when asked to trot will twist/come of the track and not trot.

Horse just has basic training...w/t/c, TOF, some leg yeild. When I ride her I try to imitate her owners issues, a bit (ride with a loose contact, unsteady seat and such).

Didn't help that I couldn't ride horse for a month while injured (assistant rode her), but even then, owner only able to pay for 1 ride per week. I am now back riding, and have been on horse twice. Horse did pull the same issues with me yesterday, but one stern thump, and away we go.

Owner is frustrated horse is still unwilling to trot with her. Carrying a whip helps, but owner is inconsistent with using it, and starting to piss of horse. Stearing at trot is getting MUCH better, but owner has trouble accepting gains in one area, when we are going backwards in another. She did not have these issues getting her to go previously, but then I used to ride the horse 2-3 times a week, however that is not in the budget.

Horse hates lunging, so lunge lessons not a good idea.

How do I help the owner see the progress and accept the set backs (or at least not let them frustrate her). She is a lovely lady, but does frustrate easily and I think worries she is not good enough for her horse..I think (and tell her) that they are well suited, but there are going to be some road bumps in the way...some bigger than others.

Any advice?

xQHDQ
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:17 PM
Personally from what you say, I DON'T think they are well suited at this point. Your student has to pay for either more rides or more lessons (preferably rides, then phase in lessons) - just temporarily.

The "starting to piss off horse" bothers me. That can get ugly, quickly.

Maybe have her just walk when she's not in front of you. Don't put her in a position to fail. It doesn't serve her or her horse.

Your client will not want to hear either of these suggestions, but that's reality. Just explain that you are looking out for her best interests.

Good luck.

Melissa.Van Doren
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:18 PM
Since you're back to riding, I'd suggest you get on the horse at the beginning of every lesson (and maybe for the entire first half of every lesson) and school her in going forward obediently and through some simple figures (large circles, figure eights, half turns). That way, the horse will benefit from a good warm up and be physically and mentally "into" the ride... the owner will get to see the horse work successfully (and watch what you do to produce the success)... and the two of them will have a better chance of working together for the second half of the lesson. Allowing her to get on and benefit from your ride will cut down on the frustration considerably (for the horse, too).

Do not try to replicate the owner's mistakes. Ride correctly and allow the horse to benefit from the positive. With only so much time available in one lesson per week, you all want to spend as little time as possible doing it wrong. ;)

SonnysMom
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:30 PM
Riding is supposed to be fun. It sounds like this horse is not fun for this owner. Horses are way too expensive of a hobby to be frustrated every time you go out and ride. She can't even get the horse to consistently trot. What about when she wants to canter?

She needs a good broke packer. One that is easier to trot and canter. One that she can learn on without having to worry about teaching the horse new things.

The only way I see this horse working is a big influx of money so that she can pay for intensive training for horsey.

There is a reason for the saying: "Green + Green = Black & Blue".

Until she can find something more suitable is there a good pony jock or junior or riderless student that can ride her horse a few times per week for free or cheap? At least this way horse gets consistent work and junior can get extra saddle time.

joiedevie99
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:40 PM
I don't think horse and rider are well suited. It sounds like the horse has the riders number, or is way too green for a rider that can't make a horse trot.

Assuming that changing the horse/rider combo up isn't possible, I'd start with the rider. I'd give her some walk exercises to do with her horse for a few weeks, and put her on a schoolmaster for lessons. Making a horse trot isn't difficult- so I'd start with evaluating her on a schoolmaster and figuring out what pieces are missing. Work on whatever she needs on a horse she trusts (could be confidence, could be balance...). Let her develop trust and confidence with her horse at the walk during this time so she avoids failure.

Right before you are ready to go back to her horse, teach her how to ride the corrections she'll need for her horse- on the schoolmaster.

I'd have her trot in or right after the corner (depending on whether bending helps the transition), then have her walk half way up the long side. Talk through it with her on the schoolmaster. As she picks up the trot, tell her "your horse is bulging in to the middle of the ring- what do you do?" Then have her tell you while the applies the aids to stay on the rail- very gently since the schoolmaster should be doing it anyway. You can stand right on the quarter line where the horse will want to bulge to in order to be close to her and help her confidence. Once she's confident with correction, she can get on her own horse. As you approach problems on her horse- you may have to go back to the schoolmaster for a bit, but hopefully you'll build her problem solving skills over time so that she can do it in the moment. In essence, you're teaching her the timing and feel that lots of people are born with.

merrygoround
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:27 AM
If the pair MUST continue together. If the rider will not go back to a schoolmaster horse, and can not afford training for the horse, then every lesson you have with her, must be about the basics. She must learn to control her body, she must also learn to do forward transitions.

It is a slow patient process, and every bit of ground gained must be praised, and then reinforced, before attempting another forward step.

shawneeAcres
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:47 AM
Why are you telling her that she and the horse are well suited? They are NOT well suited. This situation is 1) going to ruin the horse and 2) everytually resut in an accident for the woman. Many things here scream out at me. The first is that the horse "hates to lunge". Horses are not ALLOWED to "hate" to do anything regarding work, so long as it is a reasonable request. Unless the horse has a physical issue, in which case she shouldnt be ridden anyways, she NEEDS to learn to lunge properly and deal with it. It jsut sounds like everyone is "pussyfooting" around a green hrose that needs someone to be firm with her and her issues will be resolved quickly. Otherwise she will develop some very bad and hard habits to break. The horse needs to be ridden by a good confident rider and not by the owner for a good period of time. She needs consistent work several times weekly. The owner needs to REALIZE that right now she should pay for RIDES not LESSONS if its a choice between the two. She herself needs to develop her confidence and aids on a more experienced horse. I am sorry but this path is not going to lead to anyplace and the owner SHOULD be frustrated, as well as the horse, because they simply are NOT currently suited to each other.

suzy
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:05 AM
Green horses and green riders are rarely a good combination. She needs a horse that will allow her to improve her skills and build her confidence; not a horse that frustrates and probably scares her. She will become a defensive rider, and the horse, as you stated yourself, is getting ticked off. Bad, bad combination. You are doing this woman no favors by encouraging her to stick with this horse.

alibi_18
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:29 AM
Owner is frustrated horse is still unwilling to trot with her. Carrying a whip helps, but owner is inconsistent with using it, and starting to piss of horse. Stearing at trot is getting MUCH better, but owner has trouble accepting gains in one area, when we are going backwards in another. She did not have these issues getting her to go previously, but then I used to ride the horse 2-3 times a week, however that is not in the budget.

Either the owner should learn how to cope with the situation and understand that this is not the horse's fault but hers and try to solve such minor problems (not wanting to go forward, stopping for no reason and going inside track...)or get another horse to ride on. She needs to understand that she needs to invest in time and money in this green horse. Being only ridden 1 time per week is certainly not helping...

A green horse deserves the best rider possible. A green rider deserves the best horse possible.

johnnysauntie
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:38 AM
What MHJ said. ^^ . I'm forever grateful to my trainer, who rode my horse a lot for me (green OTTB) when I was starting out. It's hard for a beginner to learn on an uneducated horse. By riding my horse often, my trainer knew what his issues were too, so she could guide me more specifically, and work us both through our myriad issues.

TheHorseProblem
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:01 AM
A horse with rideability issues is an unwanted horse.

(Spell check is telling me this is not a word. I declare rideability a word.)

Continuing on with this horse will likely end up with a rider who has on-going confidence issues as well as defensive riding habits that will frustrate her attempts to improve in the future.

Since every ride is a training ride, training this horse that she can have her way by being sour is making her hard to place in the future.

Ask me how I know.

alibi_18
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:07 AM
What MHJ said. ^^ . I'm forever grateful to my trainer, who rode my horse a lot for me (green OTTB) when I was starting out. It's hard for a beginner to learn on an uneducated horse. By riding my horse often, my trainer knew what his issues were too, so she could guide me more specifically, and work us both through our myriad issues.

Yes for sure but the owner doesn't want/cannot spend the money for that. Unless the trainer wants to do it for free...

Valentina_32926
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:14 AM
Since you're back to riding, I'd suggest you get on the horse at the beginning of every lesson (and maybe for the entire first half of every lesson) and school her in going forward obediently and through some simple figures (large circles, figure eights, half turns). That way, the horse will benefit ... and the owner will get to see the horse work successfully ...Do not try to replicate the owner's mistakes. Ride correctly and allow the horse to benefit from the positive. ... ;)

I agree strongly with this posters suggestions. I had my GP rider riding my horse for first part of the lesson so she could feel horses issues and understand what we needed to work on that day. It also helped me gain a feel for how it was supposed to feel (my horse can fake you out easily). Started making great progress that way (schooling PSG) before mare injured herself.

Also - after a great lesson like that my horse came out the next day - CORRECTLY - so that will help encourage the owner that she can ride correctly. Make certain owner has specific issues to work on (homework) between lessons - so you can re-evaluate her (and the horse) at the next lesson and see if they've made progress.

suzy
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:33 AM
Valentina, I don't get the impression you were a rank beginner, so this may be a case of comparing apples to oranges. This rider isn't even at the point of being able to feel correct versus not correct. She hasn't mastered the very basics.

TKR
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:37 AM
You can't teach a green rider how to ride correctly on a green horse and everytime she gets on her green horse, she is teaching him something negative. There is a very good reason for inexperienced riders finding a trainer with school horses before they venture out and buy what they can afford only to have endless issues and neither make any positive progress.
PennyG

meaty ogre
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:44 AM
Unless the rider is heavy on intestinal fortitude and has a strong desire to make this work, this will not work.

If I couldn't get the horse to accept being longed, I wouldn't be encouraging her to ride it.

It sounds like they just aren't a good match, but it does sound like you like the horse. You say the horse is kind (but then go on to say he is not adaptable or forgiving, which to me does not = kind, but maybe he is kinder to you undersaddle?).

And you also say the horse is W/T/C and doing some leg yielding and TOF, but she can't even get him to trot. That is a huge disconnect. Is the horse also completely disrespectful of her on the ground? If he needs a good regular whompin' to get with the program he doesn't have the temperament for a green rider and it's best to break up earlier vs. later in the relationship.

Eventer55
Feb. 4, 2011, 01:54 PM
I think I read in the beginning that the horse "does not like to lunge" WEll, in my barn that horse would be lungeing every day until it was loving it. Not with the rider, but perfecting the technique.

When I had surgery my horses lunged every day until I could ride. Teach him to long line too. Also teach the rider to long line. It isn't always about being in the saddle, sometimes doing ground work helps with riding.

I think my point is that the horse doesn't get lunged because he doesn't like to be lunged, well the horse doesn't like to trot either, so do you stop trotting him? My horse hated water, not sure if she likes it now, but she sure as heck jumps in and out when I ask her.

Equi88
Feb. 4, 2011, 02:10 PM
I totally agree with Eventer55! That sentence about lunging jumed out at me too, and in my opinion, it's not the horses decision to be made!! Work on lunging so you can help the rider SAFELY!

Petstorejunkie
Feb. 4, 2011, 02:13 PM
there's a difference between having the potential to be a great pairing, and being well suited for each other today. I bet if these two met at a different time different place they'd be harmonious, and that's probably what you see that's making you feel they are well suited, but just because a horse isn't tossing a green rider does not mean the horse is prepared for the task of teaching.
the horse is a teacher just as much as you are.
sounds like the horse needs to become a working student's project, and the owner needs lunge lessons on a school master.

CHT
Feb. 4, 2011, 02:35 PM
Owner and I have come up with a plan that combines many of the ideas you posted: I am going to ride the horse for her for the next few weeks during her lesson time so she can watch the ride. Then we will progress to me riding to start, and her finishing the ride. The horse is ok with 3 days per week riding, so hopefully we can keep it in budget. We will also see if one of my students can put some rides on her (supervised by me) when owner is out of town to save some money.

I am also going to have her use my saddle on her, just in case it is a saddle fit issue as well. It doesn't seem to be, but the timing for her issues to start would add up to the new saddle.

Owner took lessons for a while on one of my schoolmasters that is close in type to her horse, and can w/t/c comfortably on him. She never rides outside of lessons.

Owner is not "ruining" horse in that I have to rewind and fix her...it is just that owner cannot progress in the manner to which she expects and is going backwards a bit from where she was when I was riding the horse more. She CAN get the mare to trot, but not consistently and horse will challenge the request repeatedly. Once they are trotting they are good for the most part...until we take a walk break.

Owner has cantered a tiny bit on her. Had no trouble getting the canter.

I think, deep down, that if I could address the owner's confidence, and get her past the "I love my horse and that should be enough" phase of horse ownership, that they WOULD be fine together. She hates having to use the whip She was able to be much more confident/forceful on my horse.

She bought this horse in a "Black Stallion" type moment, and I think it is hard for her to accept that you can't love the horse into obeying. Horse doesn't care that you saved it from going to Mexico!

Horse will lunge for me or my assistant, just not for owner, and not in a way that I would think makes her suitable for lunge line lessons. Too much time spent being parellitized I think.

I really do think they will be a good match one day, if I can only get this rider to believe in herself and accept set backs. If anyone has ideas on how I can help the MENTAL aspect of the owner's limitations, that would be great!

Eventer55
Feb. 4, 2011, 03:29 PM
"Horse will lunge for me or my assistant, just not for owner, and not in a way that I would think makes her suitable for lunge line lessons. Too much time spent being parellitized I think."

When my instructor moved out of state, I went and rode with another trainerI had known for years.

The first thing she said to me was "We are here now, not with anyone else, so we start with a clean slate." She didn't need to tell me that, but I thought it was a good statement.

You are the instructor, you're not the head of the debate team.

alto
Feb. 5, 2011, 05:10 AM
Horse will lunge for me or my assistant, just not for owner, and not in a way that I would think makes her suitable for lunge line lessons.

In other words, owner is not demonstrating leadership on the ground or just does know how to lunge correctly ... figure out which & give owner lessons in how to work this horse; as owner becomes more assertive on the ground & gains confidence that mare will listen, this should transfer to her riding.


wner took lessons for a while on one of my schoolmasters that is close in type to her horse, and can w/t/c comfortably on him. She never rides outside of lessons.

Can you get the owner doing some practise rides on your schoolmaster so that she starts figuring out stuff on her own & gains the confidence that she can ride independently!

If her horse is "nice" would she be able to lease horse out a couple days a week to generate some training income or could you use the horse in somes lessons with advanced students that want to learn how to train a young horse ...

alibi_18
Feb. 5, 2011, 06:08 AM
I have once heard: 'You can't fix stupid'.

Unless she wants to change, there won't be any changes.
You are a horse trainer, not a psychanalist...

Sorry. Been there done that.

Kyzteke
Feb. 5, 2011, 08:10 AM
I'm afraid I agree with most of the other posters -- these guys really AREN'T well suited.

Why make everyone suffer? The only greenies who should have green horses are those that have the $$ to pay for their training.

SOMEBODY has to be the teacher and one day a week simply isn't enough time to teach....no wonder the poor horse is getting so pissy.

Sell this guy and get her a packer....really will be the best solution for everyone. Maybe you have a packer in your string and can swap out?

alicen
Feb. 5, 2011, 08:28 AM
I really do think they will be a good match one day, if I can only get this rider to believe in herself and accept set backs.

The thing is, horses don't think in terms of "being loved" or "this will get better someday"; they respond to good or bad riding and everything in between.

Petstorejunkie
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:44 AM
I think, deep down, that if I could address the owner's confidence, and get her past the "I love my horse and that should be enough" phase of horse ownership, that they WOULD be fine together. She hates having to use the whip She was able to be much more confident/forceful on my horse.

Horse will lunge for me or my assistant, just not for owner, and not in a way that I would think makes her suitable for lunge line lessons. Too much time spent being parellitized I think.

Get her away from parelli and into observing horse behavior and learning about visual communication with her horse. She's not confident because she doesn't "speak the language"

Perfect Pony
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:02 AM
I have once heard: 'You can't fix stupid'.

Unless she wants to change, there won't be any changes.
You are a horse trainer, not a psychanalist...

Sorry. Been there done that.

Yeah, I am in your camp. I have seen, and am currently watching several people that are in the same scenario as the OP. This is simply the wrong horse for the owner. At this point the rider should be excited to ride her horse, and should be getting as much seat time as possible, not paying someone to ride her horse because she can't.

I have to say, I really hate this crap, I'm so totally sick and tired of it. I am tired of watching people get fleeced by "trainers" because they have horses they cannot ride. I watch people in this situation for YEARS because they insist on having a horse they will never really be able to ride. It's really sad for the horses and the riders.

CHT
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:15 AM
She is riding because she bought the horse, she did not buy the horse because she wanted to ride. I know that is hard to understand, but it is the case. She also gets great pleasure grooming and being with her horse.

I was very sceptical of this working when she first approached me, but once the horse came and I rode her for a while I concluded it wasn't potentially a bad match after all.

She is not the one doing Parelli, that was the horse's first trainer.

She is not being fleeced, and I resent that implication. If I thought they would never be a good match I would have told her so, but as I stated, I do not feel this is the case. it is your choice not to believe me, but as you have neither met the lady nor the horse, it is an odd choice. It does not benefit my business to have a poorly matched horse and rider representing my skills!

She CAN ride this horse well enough, she just gets mentally blocked/frustrated. This is what I was looking for help on. I received some useful advice via PM/email, so thank you for all of you who took the time and actually trusted my judgement to believe this could work.

Using many of the ideas presented to me, we have discussed and come up with a game plan that has reinstilled hope/confidence in the owner without increasing her bill. It really helped to remind her of all the things she has been able to do that she couldn't before rather than let her focus on the stumbling blocks. Typing that just gave me an idea...I am going to help her keep a journal to track the ups and downs and new skills learned....

Sunsets
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:16 PM
I think, deep down, that if I could address the owner's confidence, and get her past the "I love my horse and that should be enough" phase of horse ownership, that they WOULD be fine together. She hates having to use the whip She was able to be much more confident/forceful on my horse.

She bought this horse in a "Black Stallion" type moment, and I think it is hard for her to accept that you can't love the horse into obeying. Horse doesn't care that you saved it from going to Mexico!

I really do think they will be a good match one day, if I can only get this rider to believe in herself and accept set backs. If anyone has ideas on how I can help the MENTAL aspect of the owner's limitations, that would be great!

Oh dear! This is a tough one, I think. Here's my (probably totally useless) anecdote regarding this:

A very sweet young woman leased a mare at our barn. She loved "Ginger", would spend hours fussing over her and grooming, etc. She took weekly lessons. At one point, she said, "Oh, Ginger knows I love her, she wouldn't do anything to hurt me!" You can guess where this went.

One day in lesson, Ginger was being a snot about going forward. Sweet young woman applied the dressage whip, but wasn't prepared for the consequences, and Ginger unloaded her. To her credit, the lessor stuck with it (she rode in a Western saddle for a while to feel more stable) and definitely improved her riding.

I would suggest that you have to find some way to get your rider to start being the boss - before there's a blowup in the ring that really shatters her confidence. She needs to "get mad" at her mare at least once, and learn that she's in charge.

As to how to do that? I'm hoping real instructors can chime in here. I have no clue. For, me, personally, a trainer with a no-nonsense attitude who refuses to let me give up is the best in these sorts of situations. But it has to be a situation where the rider can "win".

GingerJumper
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
from reading CHT's last post, i feel like the BIGGEST issue here is the horse not respecting the rider.

when i bought my very first horse, i was so in love with him that i couldn't bear to discipline him at ALL. my trainer had to give me a good "talking to" about how love wasn't what i thought it was. the best way it was described to me was about parents.

Parents (well, most of them anyways) love their children so much it's crazy and want to give them the best, and protect them. however, some poeple think that love means absolutely no discipline, while others think it's more loving to discipline. whose children will turn out better, the ones with the parents who loved them enough to correct them when they're being brats, or the ones who were coddled and pampered their whole lives? the first set, obviously.

There's a time for coddling and pampering, but in the early phases you have GOT to set down serious boundaries and limits. for instance, my horse used to enjoy pushing me sideways while i was leading him, dragging me around, and running me over. the correction? my trainer forced me to carry a dressage whip whenever i handled him and totally flip out at him (only one pop with the whip though) whenever he started to act up. i had to do this for about 4 months. not only did his ground manners DRASTICALLY improve, but under saddle he began to improve as well.

it changed my mindset definitely from a servant to horse mindset to a horse serves me mindset. i'm not saying you should be abusive or overly aggresive in any way. and as soon as my horse would behave, he'd get scritchies and cuddles and (his favorite thing) a break from working for a few minutes.

now, my horse and i get along very well for the most part (unless he's having a Mr Hyde day) and i CAN give him cuddles and such and still maintain that level of respect.

sissyfoo
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:21 PM
Since you're back to riding, I'd suggest you get on the horse at the beginning of every lesson (and maybe for the entire first half of every lesson) and school her in going forward obediently and through some simple figures (large circles, figure eights, half turns). That way, the horse will benefit from a good warm up and be physically and mentally "into" the ride... the owner will get to see the horse work successfully (and watch what you do to produce the success)... and the two of them will have a better chance of working together for the second half of the lesson. Allowing her to get on and benefit from your ride will cut down on the frustration considerably (for the horse, too).

Do not try to replicate the owner's mistakes. Ride correctly and allow the horse to benefit from the positive. With only so much time available in one lesson per week, you all want to spend as little time as possible doing it wrong. ;)

^outstanding advice! ^ :yes:

CHT
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:37 PM
Yes, planning to ride horse first half of lessons for a while as part of our new plan. Will benefit in three ways; horse will get two more training riders per week, owner still gets lessons, and owner's lessons will be shorter so she is more likely to physically last though the lesson better....and at no extra cost to owner.

I still feel the need to somewhat replicate the owner's riding abilty when training. By this I don't mean riding poorly, I just mean horse can't be overly sensitive to slight shifts in balance/aids.

AppyGoLucky, I have also used the parents/kids analogy...but I am sure it would go over better if one of us actually HAD kids! I think having her watch me ride, and seeing that I am strict with her...yet also seeing that the horse is happy to work and looks for me in the barn will make her create the association (with some prompting).

alto
Feb. 5, 2011, 02:41 PM
She is riding because she bought the horse, she did not buy the horse because she wanted to ride. I know that is hard to understand, but it is the case. She also gets great pleasure grooming and being with her horse.
Does she do any ground work (eg Doug Mills)


I was very sceptical of this working when she first approached me, but once the horse came and I rode her for a while I concluded it wasn't potentially a bad match after all.
:yes:


She CAN ride this horse well enough, she just gets mentally blocked/frustrated.
This was the situation with my kid's first lease - horse was misrepresented by owner but a nice mare, so we switched it up so that she had a 30min lesson, then rode on her own for 30min or so (trainer would be in ring & onto next lesson); she also did one practise ride a week: 3 months on & she was actually enjoying her practise rides as much as the lessons, tho we did stay with the 30min lesson format through the lease.
I also video'd almost every lesson so she could see what she did, what mare did.


reinstilled hope/confidence in the owner without increasing her bill.
If owner has time, can she do some "barn days" where she turns out/ brings in horses, tacks up/down, wraps, bathes etc so she just gets in some intensive horse-handling time?


It really helped to remind her of all the things she has been able to do that she couldn't before rather than let her focus on the stumbling blocks.
Video is great for this :)


I am going to help her keep a journal to track the ups and downs and new skills learned....
:yes:
My kid also wrote down a list of goals that she kept tacked to the door - she started a feral pony last April & ofttimes it was difficult to see any progress, but breaking down the deceptively simple things into individual steps made a huge difference ( who knew hand grazing required so much trust :eek: - she'd been working with pony for almost 2 months before offering hand grazing as a reward :lol: NOT!)

Alpha Mare
Feb. 7, 2011, 10:17 AM
CHT, sounds like you already have some good plans. My suggestion is to help your student see that the horse is more happy when the aids are clear and 'directive'.

It took me a while to learn that when I got my first mare - I felt sorry for her as she was a sensitive (trained) horse and I thought I had to apologize for my sloppy riding. My trainer, who is very kind, finally got through to me that the mare is happier with clear, consistent aids. And the 'feeling sorry' had to go by the wayside, and the mare is MUCH happier with a clear relationship. (my mare LOVES my trainer and it sounds like you are a good character in this horse's life as well).

Just a question, does the rider lean forward when asking for trot, bobble or otherwise scramble the communication?

I think the grooming and petting on the ground is one thing (as long as manners are kept up to standard) but under saddle the horse is 'working' whether the rider wants to think of it that way or not. In the office, I don't expect the boss to be my friend, what I really appreciate is that the boss is fair. And that's how my riding horses seem to feel as well.


Hope that helps

Kyzteke
Feb. 7, 2011, 10:36 AM
I just sold an unstarted mare to a middle-aged woman who rode alot as a kid, but has only ridden sporadically since.

This is only the 2nd time I've sold a green horse to a green rider, but in this case I felt it might work because this mare is super quiet for her breed and very sensible. But I made it clear to all parties I would NOT expect the woman to start this horse herself, and that at least 60 days by a pro would be expected.

Well, I went to see them and the woman was trying to do it herself -- had ZERO clue what she was doing and (of course) the horse was taking advantage.

We had the "horses must have a leader and if you aren't it, they will take over," speech, but I'm not sure she got it. I heard over and over again "oh, she doesn't like it when you do this or that..." till I finally had to stop her and say, "I really don't care if she likes it or not -- this is her job."

After all of this was over she asked a VERY good question: "How do you be a forceful leader, yet not act like a predator?"

And I told her to just imagine she was the horse's parent! Parents love their children but a good parent sets limits, enforces some discipline, etc.

A light went on for her (she has 3 kids) and she really "got" it. Now, it doesn't make her a horsewoman, but that balance between gushing love the horse neither wants or understands and being a cruel "Master" finally made sense to her....

Good luck with your student....hope it works.

suzy
Feb. 7, 2011, 10:40 AM
I would suggest that you have to find some way to get your rider to start being the boss - before there's a blowup in the ring that really shatters her confidence. She needs to "get mad" at her mare at least once, and learn that she's in charge.



In theory this sounds fine. However, it sounds as though the woman is not only a novice but also timid. If she takes the "get mad" (which I assume you really mean "be more assertive") approach, she has to have a good enough seat to ride out the repercussions. CHT has said in more than one post that this woman's balance is not that good. If she goes to the mat with the horse, there's a good chance that's where she'll land.

stoicfish
Feb. 7, 2011, 11:09 AM
She CAN ride this horse well enough, she just gets mentally blocked/frustrated. This is what I was looking for help on. .

and

I still feel the need to somewhat replicate the owner's riding abilty when training. By this I don't mean riding poorly, I just mean horse can't be overly sensitive to slight shifts in balance/aids.


If she rides well enough, how is getting a horse to trot a problem?
Sorry, but these two statements really are contradictions.
The horse needs a trainer and the lady needs lessons on a horse that is for beginners. Maybe the two can get together in a while but not now.
If you are going to own a horse, you need to be realistic about owning a horse. The lady needs to learn how to ride better and that will take time. If she is set on owning and riding this horse, she should spend the money on a trainer that will put consistent miles on the horse and turn it into a soilid citizen for her.
I really do not see how you training the horse by replicating "bad riding" or even trying to training it "to be less sensitive to the aids" is going to help the horse. The horse should be taught properly to w/t/c. The horse needs to know what strong leadership is in order to be a good horse. I disagree that you should expect a young horse to understand that wrong/unclear aids = equal right movement. They need to learn "what right is" to start with before they can learn to forgive wrong.

And you can "resent that implication" but the reality is that you are asking for opinions on a public board about a subject that you are a professional at. And this is not that hard or an uncommon issue for someone in that profession. This is not meant to be mean or discouraging at all. But if you found your accountant on-line asking a simple question, wouldn't you wonder if that was the best person to deal with it?

meupatdoes
Feb. 7, 2011, 11:34 AM
I think it's pretty standard for a beginner-suitable horse to be difficult to get to go. I mean, am I missing something or is this typical?

I consider one of my horses beginner suitable BECAUSE he is very difficult to get moving. He's not green by any stretch, he is just exemplar extraordinaire of the principle of inertia.

When I teach students that have difficulty with this, I tend to employ time limits, space limits and hyperbole to get them to INSIST on an ANSWER from the horse PROMPTLY.

I might say, "And before the corner, trot."
"Trot before I hit '1'. 5! 4! 3!..."
"Use the whip so I can hear the crack"
"Dig your spurs in his heart"
"Break his ribs with your legs"
Once they get going I try to get them to additionally "race" down the long side; I find if a rider adds gas down the long sides it helps them make it around the turns. So I will say, "Giddyup! There's a thoroughbred coming up behind you. Race, race!"

Sometimes I mimic with body language what they are doing and what I want them to do instead. If they are 'using' the whip but basically just swishing flies with it I'll say (in a kind tone of voice) "What's this business here???" and mimic a pansy use of the whip. Then I'll mimic really cracking him one and holler, "BEAT HIM SO HIS EYES POP OUT HIS HEAD!" Obviously the rider isn't really going to pull a giant smacker out of nowhere but the hyperbole helps get them to expand their concept of what constitutes whip use.

And of course I am equally effusive with praise; when the rider does get the horse going I'll say, "Yes, yes, there you go! Around the far turn comes Edgar Prado and Dobbin, they're leaving the pack behind!" If it is a group lesson I will tell the other riders, "Everyone clap. Let's hear some cheering!" Then the next rider up gets told, "OK, I want to see some trotting just like she did it before you." I have met several riders who practically fall off the horse glowing at stuff like that and then they will try their hearts out for you evermore. Plus it encourages lesson camaraderie.

I also keep up the verbal "pressure" and don't let up until that horse is trotting. I do it in a friendly, joking way but I am not going to stand in the center of the ring and coax "OK, trot. Come on, kick with your legs. ....OK, come on, kick kick..." with no implied time limit or expectation of prompt results.

If the rider is really having trouble I follow the horse with a crop or lunge whip and help that way.

So, you asked what are some things instructors do and there is my list of various tactics.

To me horse and rider seem perfectly suited; rider just needs to develop a set of EXPECTATIONS and the fortitude to IMPLEMENT them.

mp
Feb. 7, 2011, 11:41 AM
I still feel the need to somewhat replicate the owner's riding abilty when training. By this I don't mean riding poorly, I just mean horse can't be overly sensitive to slight shifts in balance/aids.

You don't need to dumb the horse down. If you want to demonstrate something to your student by exaggerating the cue once or twice, that's fine. But after that, give her a narrative of what you're doing as you do it. So she understands the cause and effect of how to get the horse to relax, stretch to the bit, whatever.

Teach your student what's going on, so she can get a glimpse of what riding really is because this person doesn't have a CLUE. I know this because I have been in her shoes. She is totally mystified by what you and other people can do. She just sees you on the horse doing things she can't do, but she doesn't know why.

I would also encourage her to work with the horse outside of lessons. If she's not comfortable enough to ride on her own, that's fine. But she has to do things with the horse. Show her how to get the horse to TOF or back up or turn from the ground. It will probably help in the saddle, too. Then let her figure it out.

She has to learn to take responsibility for her actions and what the horse does as a result. When she finally gets the feel of what it's like when the horse understands, the angels will sing. But as long as you're there in a lesson, telling her what to do, that's not going to happen.

stoicfish
Feb. 7, 2011, 11:46 AM
"To me horse and rider seem perfectly suited; rider just needs to develop a set of EXPECTATIONS and the fortitude to IMPLEMENT them.."

So green riders and green horses are perfectly suited?

I agree with older horses that may be slow on the go - but not a young horse that is still trying to figure out what is expected of him.
Or hell maybe I am wrong and I do not need an experienced trainer that is quick to respond to the horse doing the right thing, to start my young ones. I just need a rank amateur with a big whip...

Actually, I do not even agree with older horses that need a big whip. If the horse was broke properly they will go with the right aid. If the rider is not using the right aid, it should not be replaced with more force. How is that teaching dressage?

mp
Feb. 7, 2011, 12:24 PM
So green riders and green horses are perfectly suited?

No, but this is the situation the OP is dealing with.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Feb. 7, 2011, 12:26 PM
Well, that's a bit of a tough one. It just takes time and experience for an owner to get to the point of KNOWING that it is much kinder to the horse and much safer for the rider to instill unwavering respect for the "go button". And it takes skill and confidence to ENFORCE it, which many riders lack. You need an independent seat to do that, and it sounds that this rider isn't that far along in her own education yet.

I'm afraid when I first got my rescued OTTB many, many years ago, I was a similar pain in the rear as your client in the sense that I was way over-horsed and had no idea that I was, and was unwilling AND unable to get after him the way someone needed to. I was in training too, but that's a whole different story... And I did take a lot of what my horse did and didn't do personally (yeah... I know).

So, I dunno, I would focus on keeping it safe for your client and agree with others that if you can hop on the horse in the beginning of the lessons, that should help. Maybe you can make her ride through the tough moments and build her confidence that way? Ask her if she trusts your judgment, otherwise get another trainer (that might be a bit harsh, I know, but it might get to realize what she's doing...?) Other than that, I really think this is one of those "experience" things that one can't entirely be told but must grow into, you can just try to facilitate that learning process.

meupatdoes
Feb. 7, 2011, 12:45 PM
"To me horse and rider seem perfectly suited; rider just needs to develop a set of EXPECTATIONS and the fortitude to IMPLEMENT them.."

So green riders and green horses are perfectly suited?

I agree with older horses that may be slow on the go - but not a young horse that is still trying to figure out what is expected of him.
Or hell maybe I am wrong and I do not need an experienced trainer that is quick to respond to the horse doing the right thing, to start my young ones. I just need a rank amateur with a big whip...

Actually, I do not even agree with older horses that need a big whip. If the horse was broke properly they will go with the right aid. If the rider is not using the right aid, it should not be replaced with more force. How is that teaching dressage?

Maybe you should read OP's description of the horse again.
OP describes a horse that has w/t/c, TOF, and some leg yield.
It also seems, based on the OP's post, to be absolutely kicking quiet.

A gabillion and one lesson horses in this country have pretty much that exact resume, and will go through the entirety of their school horse lives never knowing or doing more than that. Seems pretty suited to a beginner rider to me.

A horse that picks up a bright trot when a beginner rider uses the leg lightly on purpose is also a horse that picks up a bright hand gallop when a jostled beginner rider uses the leg lightly inadvertently. Is there some reason you want to put this rider on something significantly more reactive and do you really think it needs to be confirmed at half pass and counter canter to be suitable for her? It's perfectly ok that all it knows is w/t/c if that is all the rider is going to be doing for the next while.

When the rider can handle a horse that lights up off the aids and motors around with some oompf, then the trainer can set about installing all that. Until then, Pokey McPokeypants seems perfectly suited to me.

As for not even agreeing with older horse that need a big whip?
Really?
Plenty of horses need the "go button" politely but firmly reinstalled EVERY RIDE. Unless a horse is super reactive (not appropriate for a beginner by any stretch) forward is usually something that needs routine reinforcement. This is a GOOD THING for a beginner's horse. You can ride my lazy guy off a whisper -after you have convinced him you know what you are doing and will not accept less. He is not just going to hand the ride to you on a silver platter because you climbed aboard and primly applied "the right aid."

suzy
Feb. 7, 2011, 12:57 PM
I think Stoicfish and I are very much on the same page on this issue. It's not the pokiness that is of concern. In fact, I would prefer to teach a beginner rider on a horse that is a bit poky. However, CHT has repeatedly described the horse as green--it's even in the subject line of this thread! Green is very different from poky. She has also mentioned that the horse is starting to get a bit snarky with the owner. A beginner's horse, IMO, is a horse that will tolerate a rider's mistakes without getting snarky about it. It may not quickly pick up the trot when asked but OTOH it won't have a hissyfit if not asked correctly.

The owner has succeeded in what she set out to do--save the horse from the slaughterhouse. So, why not let someone else who is more equipped to deal with a green horse take it from here. She can fall in love with another horse. It's not hard--there are a lot of them out there to love, and there is bound to be one more suited to her skill level.

mp
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:01 PM
Maybe you should read OP's description of the horse again.
OP describes a horse that has w/t/c, TOF, and some leg yield.
It also seems, based on the OP's post, to be absolutely kicking quiet.

That pretty much describes my first horse, only he didn't LY and while he was very forgiving, he wasn't always totally quiet. :o

And I was 43 years old. :o :o :o

Which is why I tell people, if *I* can learn how to ride, ANYBODY CAN. A good instructor is vital, but you must also want to figure out the puzzle that is your horse. And I'm not sure the OP's student falls into that category.

CHT
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:32 PM
Some of you seem to get it, others seem to make assumptions that are not posted.

Horse isn't that young, + owner isn't stupid and does want to improve/change.

Wanting to change and being able to aren't the same thing. I am looking for help on how to help her make that mental change. Thank you to those that have posted assistance in this matter, or anecdotes of their own experiences.

Horse is naturally very sensitive to weight aids. I like this in a horse I ride, but I do not find it useful in a horse for someone learning. if I was training her for me I would develop this skill further, but as I am training her for someone who only ever plans to ride casually, I do think I need her to be responsive in this way, only to obvious aids.

Giving her ground work exercises are a good idea. Thank you.

mp
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:04 PM
Horse isn't that young, + owner isn't stupid and does want to improve/change.

Age of the horse is of no import, nor is the intellect of your student. My green horse was eight and I'm plenty smart. I just was completely ignorant of what "riding" actually involves.

That's why I suggested that you narrate what you feel in the horse (tension, sluggishness, whatever) when you ride and what you're doing to ask the horse to make a change.

When she's riding, make sure she understands specifically what you're asking her to do. "Weight your left seat bone" had me scrunching/grinding down on that side of the saddle (to no avail) until my instructor said "lighten your right seat bone" instead. "Toes in" became "heels out." And light bulb moments ensued.

When she gets a positive reaction from the horse, take a break and ask her to think about what she just did to make that change. Also, suggest that she make notes following the lessons to reinforce anything she learns.

I know how incredibly basic this seems, and if she balks, just tell her there is a physiological reason for it. Everyone knows it's easier to learn a second language as a child, rather than as an adult. Well, riding is a language AND it involves the body. Forging those new neural pathways takes much longer for us than it does for kids.

Good luck.

suzy
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:09 PM
I don't see any posts in which posters referred to this horse as young. I did not have the impression she's young. "GREEN" is the word you used in your subject line and in almost all of your posts. I think most, if not all, of us are aware of the difference between young and green. ;) I also didn't see anyone referring to this owner as stupid; naive was implied, but stupid was neither stated nor implied.

meupatdoes
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:14 PM
However, CHT has repeatedly described the horse as green--it's even in the subject line of this thread! Green is very different from poky.

Maybe there is dissonance over the "green" moniker.

To someone who rides horses to an advanced level, a horse that is doing WTC and starting legyields is green. That is a pretty "green" level of training no matter who the horse is. How else would you describe that? The horse certainly isn't "made" or even close to "finished."

Ultimately it is the behavior of the horse that determines whether it is beginner suitable, not what it knows how to do.

One of my horses (the aforementioned lazy one) was giving rank, never-been-on-a-horse-before beginners pony rides in an outdoor arena as a fresh off the track 3yo. He plodded around with a pleasant expression on his face regardless of his age or resume.

It has just always been his personality.
Sure, he was "green." But also quiet and unflappable.

If you want to tell me that my other horse, a 5yo Oldenburg with some scores of 75% under his belt, would have been a more suitable choice for those riders simply because he would be considered less "green" than a 3yo ottb, okey dokey, but there is a reason my trainer calls him "8 Seconds" and has to date declined all offers for him to throw a leg over...

Oberon13
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:24 PM
What a tough situation...although I'm of the mindset that green/green isn't a good combo, it's what the OP has to work with...so...

Two "sticky" points for me:

1) The OP stated that the owner is riding because she has a horse; she didn't buy the horse because she wants to ride. I think inherent in that statement is a lack of that deep-down drive that causes us all to "just try again." So much of riding is about FEEL...and that can't be taught. I can say things forty different ways, but until my student gets it and truly feels it, it hasn't been learned. For example, I can explain a turn on forehand; I can demonstrate it on the ground, pretending to be the horse; I can get on a horse and show it. But, until the student truly feels the horse step an inside hind away from her inside leg, she has only developed a category called "Turn on Forehand" in her brain...she hasn't LEARNED turn on forehand. That feel, or true learning, is necessary for change.

2) The owner doesn't ride outside of lessons. This could be for a variety of reasons, and I completely understand that. However, it contributes greatly to the apparent lack of the ability to change (not WANT to change, but ability to change).

suzy
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:33 PM
meup, read the post I was responding to to better understand what I was addressing.

A dead, quiet green horse is definitely better suited to an inexperienced rider than a fully trained GP horse that is hot--no question about it. The issue I have is that CHT said the horse is getting snarky with the rider. If the horse was just being a bit dull but otherwise good natured, I'd sit on the sidelines and shut up.

rugbygirl
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:07 PM
A beginner's horse, IMO, is a horse that will tolerate a rider's mistakes without getting snarky about it.

This tells me you have limited experience with lesson horses. Or possibly some rose-coloured glasses that you look through at lesson horses in your past.

In my experience, lesson horses can be crabby old bats about all sorts of mistakes, and you get a new "quirk" every time your teacher decides you've progressed to a stage where you need the skill to ride that "quirk." The last lesson horse I rode bucked if you touched him with a spur on the landing. Guess who needed to learn something about her lower leg. Guess who learned it, quickly ;)

Some of the posts on these forums really make me jealous of where some of y'all learned to ride, because apparently there is some supply of perfectly schooled, beginner friendly My Little Ponies out there, just waiting to teach some nervous Adult Ammie the ropes of riding regardless of how clumsy said Ammy tries. Horses are still horses...

--

I've really liked mp's posts on this topic. I think your green rider may have a similar problem to another green rider you've taught...which is a major difficulty figuring out what "good" looks like. She needs help setting goals, because she is a pretty results-driven person. New to horses, but not new to tackling hard things.

Setting both short and long term goals, in terms that are measurable to her (as mp said, you might have to narrate/demonstrate what the "measure" looks like...softening at the trot or whatever will be hard for your rider to assess at first) will allow her to look at her setbacks in context. She is a smart, successful person who understands that nothing increases constantly, and understands animals well enough to know that they can regress through no fault of their rider. She may need aggressive reminding :winkgrin: and periodic interjections of "horse is getting a little nervous, are you contributing to that with your own frustration?"

This is a really good thread, I think, because this situation is a lot more common in the riding world than people here often seem to think...and most instructors deal with it poorly.

I listened to the trainer once who parroted what many here are saying, to sell the horse. I still regret it. The horse I have now might very well get me higher scores...but I never wanted that. I wanted to bring my mare along and do the best I could with her. Yes, I wanted to call myself a "Hunter" while I did it...much like the student in this post wants to call her riding "Dressage"...but that's a lot more to do with equipment choice than any desire to compete at a high level.

stoicfish
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:14 PM
Maybe you should read OP's description of the horse again.
OP describes a horse that has w/t/c, TOF, and some leg yield.
It also seems, based on the OP's post, to be absolutely kicking quiet.

."

So I read the original post again and I am guessing in that time the owner of the horse is still having problems at the trot.
A professional will usually be able to get things out of horses that the beginner can't but the point is this horse is green and with a beginner.

Just think the horse should be trained without the added burden of a beginner trying to do it. When the lady finally learns to ride she will appreciate the horse more if it is trained properly.
My friend that is in her 70's and a very accomplished horse woman, uses retired show horses for her many young riders. When the kids get it right, the horse shows them what it feels like to do it right. Much quicker learning curve than both the horse and rider not knowing what is right.

SunsAfire
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:19 PM
I was a green rider with a green horse. It was a volatile combination, and I never just had FUN riding! I think she needs to move on if she can't pay for some training under saddle.

meaty ogre
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:45 PM
I was a green rider with a mismatched, not necessarily green, horse.

What does the horse do besides ignore the rider? If she does ever get the nerve to enforce her aids, will he buck? Bolt? Crowhop? Comply?

If he does buck, bolt, crowhop or otherwise resist, will she
a.) Cowgirl up and overcome
b.) cry
c.) wet her pants and get off

If the answer is anything but A, I think you have an obligation to at least have a serious talk about appropriateness of mount to rider.

I had NO FUN for the 10 years that I attempted to work with my mismatched horse. If he could talk I'm sure he would share my sentiment. If anyone, absolutely anyone had pulled me aside and said I should get a suitable horse they would have been my hero. Instead, well-wishing friends and trainers donned their rose colored glasses and said, put him in training, try a different bit, check his saddle fit, check his teeth, check his feet, check his feed, check his blood, check his poop check check check....(all the while I was writing checks!). Anyway, rant over, I just want to say that as a professional in the horse world, if you see a bad fit you need to call it out and not just do your best to make it work.

If you are a professional shoe salesman and someone has ill-fitting shoes but can't afford new ones or doesn't want new ones, you are not doing them a service by saying, well, the best I can do is sell you these shoe inserts. You should say hey, these shoes don't fit and nothing I can do will make them fit, so you're best served saving your money for a real solution, rather than a "this-is-the-best-I-can-do" solution.

The owner sounds like she wants to keep riding and the best way to kill that desire is to attempt to keep riding a poorly matched horse until you fall off and get hurt or get so frustrated that you just can't find the motivation to go to the barn anymore. I know this from firsthand experience and I would do anything in my power to help someone I saw headed down the same path. CHT I think it is admirable you are attempting to work within the confines you have, but just be mindful that the rider and horse are getting frustrated for very good reasons.

nessabird
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:50 PM
Being I was a green rider with a green horse, I just have to jump in. I didn't start riding until I was 30. I rode for three years with a not-so great trainer. I basically knew how to get on, steer with my reins, and try not to fall off. I didn't understand the basics of riding, certainly not dressage. Along came my horse, basically dropped into my lap. My so-called trainer said he just needed consistent riding. I rode him a handful of times before I bought him. He was broke western, by great breeders/trainers who also rode dressage. But then he went through at least 4 homes when I got him at 5 years old. He was green to the point of not even able to walk in a straight line, head tossing, refusing to turn. After consistent riding he became almost defiant about working (no one rode him consistently EVER) and started bolting, and he bucked my trainer off into a fence (which she deserved, she has no business riding or training but I digress). I had several people tell me we weren't a good match. I'm tired of everyone saying that about all green horses and riders!!! No, it is not ideal, but if you find the right trainer, except for truly dangerous horses, it can and will work! Some people do not buy and sell horses like they are cars. By buying my horse, I made a commitment to him. Just because it was difficult sometimes and there were times I went home crying after a bad ride, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I found a new trainer, a better farm and I learned how to ride effectively. I did have to get "meaner" as I was one of the ones who was too nice :lol: My new trainer rode him once a week for several months, and really helped him get the basics he had forgotten. I then worked on my riding on him. To look at us now, you'd never know where we have been. I trust him and he trusts and respects me. We have shown in dressage schooling shows and last fall competed in our first event. Riding is not supposed to be easy, it should be a learning process for you and the horse. I don't think I would be as good of a rider without him. He taught me things the "schoolmasters" never did. Please don't lump all green horses and riders into a group, we're not all the same!!

mp
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:17 PM
What does the horse do besides ignore the rider? If she does ever get the nerve to enforce her aids, will he buck? Bolt? Crowhop? Comply?

If he does buck, bolt, crowhop or otherwise resist, will she
a.) Cowgirl up and overcome
b.) cry
c.) wet her pants and get off

If the answer is anything but A, I think you have an obligation to at least have a serious talk about appropriateness of mount to rider.

I don't agree.

I think it's OK to cry AND cowgirl up. That's what I did. :D



I had NO FUN for the 10 years that I attempted to work with my mismatched horse.

Good heavens! You were even more stubborn than I was. I suffered for ~3 years. But instead of getting a different horse, I found a better trainer.


This is a really good thread, I think, because this situation is a lot more common in the riding world than people here often seem to think...and most instructors deal with it poorly.

I honestly think a lot of trainers don't even realize how much some adult riding students don't know. The guy I rode with for the first 3 years is as nice as they come and an excellent trainer ... of horses. For people, not so much. And I think it's because he's been riding since he was 7 and it all comes quite naturally to him. For me, NONE of it came naturally. He did get me to where I could w/t/c, but only in an arena. And I knew I wanted to do more.

So I floundered around on my own for awhile, until I found an instructor who focused on the basics of the rider, could explain things to me and KEEP explaining if I didn't understand. Six years later, I can ride. And people who haven't known me long think I've been riding all my life.

And I just laugh ... I'm still not very good, but how far I have come.

CHT
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:31 PM
Thanks Rugbygirl; you had very good observations, and I think with owner's background/personality type I need to be better about being very specific/analytical in the teaching, and put out goals/lesson plans that are more structured to make sure we track progress, and don't skip over tough spots (although perhaps let them rest for a bit).

Both you and Nessabird (and others previously) touched an important point; not everyone riders for the same reason, and I think a good coach helps the rider assess why they want to ride and teaches within that parameter (or finds someone who will). For some, the journey is the important thing, not the destination.

Nessabird, can you think of what helped change your mental state so you became more assertive? Was it frustration? A key word someone told you?

Meaty ogre, horse doesn't buck, bolt or spin! Owner doesn't quit on me, just gets frustrated and feels she isn't doing well enough for her horse. Short pep talk gets us back on track, but I think there is an underlying lack of assertiveness.

I have figured out WHY horse doesn't listen, but I still have to figure out how to help owner see through this (and future) rough spots with more confidence and optimism.

What I find interesting, is I am getting better advice from rider's who went through this rather than from coaches who understand how to work through it (with a few exceptions). Explains a lot of what I observe in other programs...

Stoney447
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:57 PM
Horse is naturally very sensitive to weight aids. I like this in a horse I ride, but I do not find it useful in a horse for someone learning. if I was training her for me I would develop this skill further, but as I am training her for someone who only ever plans to ride casually, I do think I need her to be responsive in this way, only to obvious aids.



I understand your point of view about the horse being sensitive to weight aids. I can see how it would be detrimental to the horse and rider as a pair if the horse was constantly adjusting to the rider being off balance, ect. because in the horse's greenness it doesn't fully understand what exactly an aid is versus green-rider floudering (and I admit it I flounder sometimes and I am not green...I think we all have been there unexpectedly at some point or another). Could it not be a help in this case for you to establish for the horse what an aid is by reinforcing correct aids with your seat so that it can distinguish between what an aid is and what is not meant to be an aid? That way, when the owner is riding the horse, the horse will be less and less responsive to the wrong kind of stimulus (rider being unbalanced) and will respond in a positive way when the rider does something that the horse recognizes as an appropriate aid, thus reinforcing to the rider when she is being successful.

The easiest way to deal with a green horse/green rider, I think, is to take the green out of one of them. Since you really get to ride this horse and have stated that you like the horse a lot and it responds well to you, having the horse understand the appropriateness of some aids versus other cues it is recieveing on a regular basis is the first place I would start to make the rider feel more secure and more able to focus on her riding and less having to worry about one little unbalanced move causing a major reaction (in track, bend, head position, pace, ect) from the horse.

As far as coming to this forum for advice or just ancedotes of other people's experience....I think its great. I know my own trainer is on here...lurking. :) I think its good to see other perspectives even if you don't change anything about your plan of attack...they can sometimes reinforce what you have been thinking all along when you hear something that makes you say....OMG I would never do it that way:winkgrin: Good luck!

nessabird
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:05 PM
CHT, what helped me change my mental state was my trainer and realizing that things would be easier for me if I made it clear to him that I am the boss. The days when he was an absolute butt-head made it easier to be a little more forceful and determined to make him listen to me. My horse would go great for my trainer and then sort of do what I wanted mixed in with what he wanted. He is by nature LAZY and doesn't like to work :lol: But despite being lazy, when he gets irritated or tired, he goes fast and tries to get away with things. I thought he was "afraid" of the dressage whip, my trainer desensitized him by riding with it once, now just riding with it makes him respect me a little more. One day I saw her riding a dressage horse and then realized it was my lazy paint dressage horse!!! I was determined that I could get him to go like that if I put my mind to it. A reminder during lessons helped. For example during a jumping lesson, he was running out of a combination, my fault entirely for letting him. She said "This is the part where I start yelling at you". That quote sticks in my head to this day. He needs you to tell him where to go, you are not a passenger, you are a rider.

saltheart
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:10 PM
Sorry I think Stoic has it right here. What sort of trainer are you that you have to "replicate" the bad riding? That's a very poor training philosophy and will only continue to reinforce the negative behavior on the part of the horse.

This is a very common problem and asking for the opinions of strangers - who may or may not be any more experienced than your client - is very telling.

rugbygirl
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:27 PM
What sort of trainer are you that you have to "replicate" the bad riding

Just a quick note...that's exactly what the trainers did in the therapeutic riding program I used to volunteer at. Replicate how the clients would ride, then reward the horse for responding appropriately (which is no response, for most things the rider would do.) We really couldn't afford to have horses responding to weight shifts when we needed them to respond to the lead shank holder.

Is it the right choice for this pair at this stage? I couldn't tell you...but that idea doesn't make someone a bad trainer, IMO.

CHT
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:28 PM
Sorry I think Stoic has it right here. What sort of trainer are you that you have to "replicate" the bad riding? That's a very poor training philosophy and will only continue to reinforce the negative behavior on the part of the horse.

This is a very common problem and asking for the opinions of strangers - who may or may not be any more experienced than your client - is very telling.

Where on earth did I say I am replicating bad riding?

Hearing from people who have been through this themselves and/or who started to ride as adults has been great and very useful.

What is very telling is the passive agressive tone of your post: "Sorry, but...." I really doubt you are sorry, and I rather bet you enjoyed posting that.

xQHDQ
Feb. 7, 2011, 07:31 PM
To CHT, this is where you said it: [QUOTE=CHT;5401289]
When I ride her I try to imitate her owners issues, a bit (ride with a loose contact, unsteady seat and such). QUOTE]

meaty ogre
Feb. 7, 2011, 07:46 PM
I don't agree.

I think it's OK to cry AND cowgirl up. That's what I did. :D

Good heavens! You were even more stubborn than I was. I suffered for ~3 years. But instead of getting a different horse, I found a better trainer.



MP, crying and cowgirling up = cowgirling up to me. The point I was trying to make is that the rider either has the intestinal fortitude to ride through this or she doesn't. The skill set can come, although it's harder to get if the horse isn't an easy one, but if she is too intimidated or afraid to get to the cowgirl up phase, then it's no good. That's all I'm tryin' to say.

I wasn't so much stubborn as stupid. People (my friends and various trainers) kept pushing me to make it work. They saw desire on my part and talent on the horse's part and figured one day we'd just meet somewhere in the middle. But we never found that middle ground. I have one honest friend who finally told me it's not necessarily me and it's not necessarily the horse but we just don't belong together. I would have loved to have heard that a couple concussions ago! (Sometimes I think we adult learners need permission so we don't think of ourselves as failures...those who have grown up around horses seem to know this truth better than those of us who jump in without that knowledge base that any horse + any rider doesn't always = a team).

CHT
Feb. 7, 2011, 10:26 PM
Ah, I didn't realize riding on a loose rein and expecting the horse to keep going when the rider adjusts their balance/seat = bad riding. Are people who do stretches on horse back and expect their horse to keep going and going straight bad riders?

saltheart
Feb. 8, 2011, 11:49 AM
I do apologize for being "passive/aggressive", CHT. Let me drop the passive I guess. If you are a professional, your OP strikes me as having been written by someone without a lot of teaching experience. That's what I meant. I found it odd. You don't - fine. It's your thread and your question. Please ignore the posts you don't like and only take the advice of other beginners.

mp
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:26 PM
MP, crying and cowgirling up = cowgirling up to me. The point I was trying to make is that the rider either has the intestinal fortitude to ride through this or she doesn't. The skill set can come, although it's harder to get if the horse isn't an easy one, but if she is too intimidated or afraid to get to the cowgirl up phase, then it's no good. That's all I'm tryin' to say.

I was just teasing you, meaty.

I agree with you completely. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect the horse to change. You have to be willing to make a change in yourself.

As a middle-aged horse-crazy girl, I got so frustrated with my horse that, at one point, I'd go home crying more often than not. I couldn't get her to do anything. After one of those sessions, I went home and was reading Bill Dorrance's book and this quote struck me.

In order to get the most out of a horse, you need to put aside all negativity -- about the horse, about yourself and about anyone who previously handled the horse.

That idea changed how I worked with my horse. If something didn't work, I stopped whining to myself and wondering why other people could do this stuff. Instead, I tried something else to make it clearer what I wanted. IOW, I put myself in charge of what my horse was doing. Or not doing.

I think the difference between your situation and mine is that my horse was not difficult to ride. I was just an idiot. :lol:

CHT
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:30 PM
Saltheart, you are still doing the passive agressive thing..."other beginners".

I will admit i do not have a lot of experience with the mental aspect that comes along with teaching green riders on green horses. Not my preferred way of going about the process of teaching, I vastly prefer green riders on experienced horses to help instill rider confidence and fortitude. So this is something I realize I need help/feedback/outside opinions on. Does it make me weak or less than to ask for help? To you, apparently yes, to me, it is the best way to learn and get better.

But...you had no helpful advice, so are you any better than me? I could see taking the advice of someone who actually provided helpful advice telling me I was overfaced by the situation and should move on, but those people were supportive and helpful.

No wonder so many people opted to email/pm rather than post in the open!

CHT
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:32 PM
I LOVE that quote MP! I think I am going to put that on the front of her training journal! That is exactly the type of help I was looking for; Little things that can help flip a switch.

mp
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:35 PM
I hope it helps your student, CHT, because it sure flipped a switch for me.

Good luck.

rugbygirl
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:44 PM
In order to get the most out of a horse, you need to put aside all negativity -- about the horse, about yourself and about anyone who previously handled the horse.

That is sooooooooooooo true. I had a major revelation from a horse guy that was worded similarly...it changed everything. Literally EVERYTHING.

Women are so bad for thinking that they can bottle everything up and just soldier on. Yeah sure, maybe they can disguise stress and frustration from most other humans, but they usually aren't doing a very good job disguising it from a horse.

If you start a lesson full of all the negativity associated with having an "inappropriate" horse, and with your mind replaying all the negative feedback you've gotten, but MOST OF ALL replaying your poor results last lesson...you can pretty much guarantee that this next lesson will be even worse. You need to plant the feeling of the positive result in your mind in order to strive to teach it. For a total adult beginner, MANY trainers easily forget that that person has exactly zero frame of reference for what is "right." Sometimes the frame of reference can be developed using a well-schooled lesson horse...but it can also be achieved on a good-minded horse with less schooling. It takes creativity.

I had a trainer literally sit in the middle of the arena saying "more, more, more, more, more" talking about how much pressure to put on the reins before she called it "contact." This went on for, I kid you not, TWENTY MINUTES. My head was so full of online critiques about "riding off your hands" that I had less than a finger's pressure on my draft mare's bit...ever. She took advantage of this in every conceivable way until I learned what "contact" actually felt like. The lights, they turned on after that. Did you know that you can feel what a horse's WHOLE BODY is going to do if you actually have a real constant contact and not a rein that goes loopy all the time? I didn't, for two YEARS of lessons!

It's also important for trainers to give credit where credit is due. Instead of constantly telling a student that she needs a new horse, learn to look for what she is doing right with the horse she has. If she is really comitted to learning to ride THIS HORSE, those moments of positive feedback are what she LIVES for. Not ribbons or perfection or high scores. Truly, some of us are in it for nothing more than the love of a particular horse and a personal drive to get better...on our own timelines. A "THERE, you see how when you did X, the horse did Y?! That was EXACTLY RIGHT." is honestly worth a ton.

suzy
Feb. 8, 2011, 01:44 PM
Saltheart, you are still doing the passive agressive thing..."other beginners".

I will admit i do not have a lot of experience with the mental aspect that comes along with teaching green riders on green horses. Not my preferred way of going about the process of teaching, I vastly prefer green riders on experienced horses to help instill rider confidence and fortitude. So this is something I realize I need help/feedback/outside opinions on. Does it make me weak or less than to ask for help? To you, apparently yes, to me, it is the best way to learn and get better.

But...you had no helpful advice, so are you any better than me? I could see taking the advice of someone who actually provided helpful advice telling me I was overfaced by the situation and should move on, but those people were supportive and helpful.

No wonder so many people opted to email/pm rather than post in the open!

CHT, it’s great that you own up to your lack of experience in this type of situation and that you are looking for advice. However, what I repeatedly see in this thread is a majority of people opining that this horse/rider are not well suited and you responding with denial and excuses. You only acknowledge and accept advice that agrees with what you want to do. This is human nature, and I will not berate you for it. However, you are painting yourself and your student into a corner. Most experienced instructors would not even try going down the road you seem intent on traveling because they have the experience to know that satisfactory endings are unusual in these cases.

If you are embarrassed at having encouraged this rider to stick with the horse and need a graceful way out, that’s fine. I imagine there are several people here who could provide sound advice for you on how to handle your student. I also understand that you may be afraid of losing this client. I was once in a nearly identical situation and did lose the client by telling her that she and her horse were not a good match. It was a pity but the best thing for everyone in the long run. You will lose some clients along the way. It does not mean you are a bad trainer/instructor; just that you may not be the best match for that person and/or horse. There are plenty of other students out there you will click with.

Your student bought the horse based on knee-jerk, emotional reasons from what you have told us. Sort of akin to getting married to someone you hardly know because you’re pregnant—it rarely ever has a good outcome. ;)

TheHorseProblem
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:25 PM
Your student bought the horse based on knee-jerk, emotional reasons from what you have told us. Sort of akin to getting married to someone you hardly know because you’re pregnant—it rarely ever has a good outcome. ;)

I would like for there to be more concern about the horse in this situation. If this partnership ends with the rider deciding to give it up, no big deal. If the partnership ends with a spoiled, sour horse that would need significant retraining, then that horse is likely doomed in today's market.

Every ride trains a horse. Bad training renders a horse unwanted.

Please, please think of the horse.

suzy
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:34 PM
I would like for there to be more concern about the horse in this situation. If this partnership ends with the rider deciding to give it up, no big deal. If the partnership ends with a spoiled, sour horse that would need significant retraining, then that horse is likely doomed in today's market.

Every ride trains a horse. Bad training renders a horse unwanted.

Please, please think of the horse.

Amen. Good post THP.

mp
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:37 PM
It's also important for trainers to give credit where credit is due. Instead of constantly telling a student that she needs a new horse, learn to look for what she is doing right with the horse she has. If she is really comitted to learning to ride THIS HORSE, those moments of positive feedback are what she LIVES for. Not ribbons or perfection or high scores. Truly, some of us are in it for nothing more than the love of a particular horse and a personal drive to get better...on our own timelines. A "THERE, you see how when you did X, the horse did Y?! That was EXACTLY RIGHT." is honestly worth a ton.

I guess that's why I keep replying to this thread. Instead of badgering her student to buy a different horse, the OP is trying to figure out how to help her learn to ride this one. And I respect that. Teaching a clueless adult how to ride is hard.

I wish the guy I took lessons from for 3+ years would have looked for ways to teach me, instead of just keeping me from falling off (not that I don't appreciate that, especially in retrospect).


Your student bought the horse based on knee-jerk, emotional reasons from what you have told us. Sort of akin to getting married to someone you hardly know because you’re pregnant—it rarely ever has a good outcome.

I understand your point, but even idiots who buy horses on impulse can have good outcomes. I'm proof of that. It just depends on how much the idiot wants to make it happen.

Like both of my green horses (yeah, I did it TWICE) the horse in question appears to be a not so bad choice. It just depends on how much the student will put into the effort. And IMO, she is the only one who knows that answer to that.

rugbygirl
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:37 PM
Instead of badgering her student to buy a different horse, the OP is trying to figure out how to help her learn to ride this one.

Exactly. CHT told us that this client came to her with the green horse and all intents to ride it. CHT accepted her business, with voiced concerns about the match. The horse was worked with and assessed to be safe for the rider, if "green" in a strict sense...but with a pretty standard set of skills. Rider can w/t/c on lesson horse, according to OP. Seems to be a primarily mental block when it comes to her own horse. I'm honestly kind of shocked that so many people would apparently just keep pushing this client to buy a new horse. Personally, I'd far rather see her with an instructor...not pushed out the door because all the professional riding instructors she visited insisted that she buy a new horse, rather than teach her how to ride. I'm not getting the part of the information that was the red flag this horse was somehow impossible to make work for this situation.

When the pony kid can't get the pony to trot, do you keep finding new ponies? Or use a variety of encouragements to get the kid to put some "oomph" into her leg aids. Even if it takes the pony kid growing another year until her legs reach the pony's sides? Or do you only ever put kids on robot ponies who never misbehave and receive commands telepathically?


And I respect that. Teaching a clueless adult how to ride is hard.

Yes. They have much more fragile confidence than kids and are more prone to injury. They have pesky commitments like work that keep them from training as hard as they should. They get "silly notions" about keeping certain horses that could easily be dispelled in a less independent client. They are apt to pack up and find a new trainer if sufficiently ticked off.

Plus side, we hardly ever ask our trainers to wipe our runny noses and are usually tall enough to put the bridles on our own horses.:winkgrin:



Every ride trains a horse. Bad training renders a horse unwanted.

Please, please think of the horse.

This horse has months of professional training and is being ridden by a beginner. Under supervision. Let's quiet the hysterics, shall we? If it has confirmed w/t/c it is doing better than the vast majority, and you're posting this in response to a trainer who is not only willing to keep going with the horse but actively seeking suggestions on how to be even more effective. In the grand scheme, this horse won the owner lotto for Pete's sake.

suzy
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:47 PM
Exactly. CHT told us that this client came to her with the green horse and all intents to ride it.

Actually, this is not the case. Go to page 2, and you will see this quote in one of CHT posts:

"She is riding because she bought the horse, she did not buy the horse because she wanted to ride."

I think this is why a number of us are seeing red flags and are not terribly hopeful. Regardless of what is best for the rider, it sounds as though the best thing for the horse would be a different rider.

Would also add that you are comparing apples to oranges when comparing child riders to adult riders. Children are far more resilient and don't have any bad habits or fears to overcome. And, as you said, they don't have all the other commitments of an adult.

rugbygirl
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:59 PM
Children are far more resilient and don't have any bad habits or fears to overcome.

Are you kidding?

Children bounce better, I guess.

No bad habits? Not even the ones who spend equal hours with a crummy ballet teacher who taught them to hollow their lower back stiffly all the time and point their toes out?

No fears? Now I just know you haven't ever actually met a child. Kids are afraid of all kids of things.

--

The gist of what you are saying IS true (and was said in this thread already, repeatedly, by many of the self-proclaimed adult beginners on here) No, you can't train a beginner adult the same way as a beginner child.

Using the pony-child frame of reference does have value though, because it jars trainers into remembering that some things take time and persistence, even with the best schoolie and most hard-working child. It is a little shocking how many trainers forget that lesson when it comes to adults. "Buy a new horse"...how did that get to be so high up in the toolbox? Do you know how "good" a horse needs to be to overcome the fact that the rider is afraid to put more than 2 pounds of pressure on the reins?

I think nearly every post on this thread has admitted that there are less-than-ideal things about this arrangement. One suggestion is to change the parameters. OK, noted. There are other suggestions available within the parameters.

CHT
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:01 PM
Suzy, how does that quote contradict what Rugbygirl said?

Both are true.

Horse was in training for a while in US, once owner decided to keep horse, owner started lessons. Once owner and horse could w/t/c in their respective programs, horse came up here, and I started phasing owner over to riding her horse in lessons.

Is it the assumption that a late start in riding makes owner less dedicated?

mp
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
Regardless of what is best for the rider, it sounds as though the best thing for the horse would be a different rider.

Again, IMO, that's hard to say without actually seeing the respective horse and rider. My green horses sometimes got pissy because I gave them conflicting signals or spooky because I was so tense. But they didn't become sour and require retraining. Maybe that's because they didn't know that much to begin with. ;) But other people could get on them and do just fine.

It really does depend on the horse and, as I said previously, how much the rider wants to work at it.

Now, if a green rider were doing this without the assistance of a trainer, that would be another story. I have advised (when asked) people that they're in over their heads and need to either get an easier horse or get help from a trainer. And, for a select few, given unsolicited advice to stop what they're doing before they get killed. :eek:

katarine
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:44 PM
May I ask the OP a question?

What does the owner say they want out of this training arrangement? What are her real, tangible goals, and the timelines in her head?

Having that conversation may be reallllly fruitful. I just have a funny feeling you two may not be on the same page.

This is why it finally got easier to teach my DH; once I 'got it' in terms of how well he wanted to ride (not very, lol, but balanced and kind) it got easier, achievable, doable. That's why he's safe and balanced on some hairy trails...but can't tell his leads from a hole in his head. And this mini-DQ that is me, could NOT care less.

What does the OWNER want?

Boomer
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:56 PM
How old is the green horse (or did I miss that somewhere)?

CHT
Feb. 8, 2011, 09:48 PM
Katarine, good question, and something we did talk about before I accepted her as a client in the first place.

I started to post the answer, but then thought the better of it. I am sure certain people will pick apart her goals and I am tired.

Her goals are realistic, and have the horse's best interest at heart, with the key being the goal of personal accomplishment for both her and horse. The journey not the destination.

Horse is 6.

katarine
Feb. 8, 2011, 09:56 PM
All I can say is do nothing that strays from THAT goal. If it's happy litte walk/trot on a reasonable rein by ____, stay on that. Don't grow past it in your mind. Help her get THERE> and if there is not possible, adjust There.

Any trainer who hasn't had to dumb down a nice little horse to meet the owner in the middle of the road...is...wellll...whatevah ;)

suzy
Feb. 9, 2011, 08:12 AM
Are you kidding?

Children bounce better, I guess.

No bad habits? Not even the ones who spend equal hours with a crummy ballet teacher who taught them to hollow their lower back stiffly all the time and point their toes out?

No fears? Now I just know you haven't ever actually met a child. Kids are afraid of all kids of things.



Rugby, I was a child once. I do remember being afraid on occasion. It was a very different type of fear than what I have as an adult. It was short lived, and I didn't think of repercussions. As an adult, I am very aware of how an injury could impact my life, my family, my job, etc. so, yes, I do think that children's fears are different in some respects than those of adults.

As far as bad habits, a child will not have had as long to develop bad habits as an adult who has been riding for years and, in my experience, it's easier to change a child's bad habits than those of an adult who has been practicing the same thing incorrectly over a long period of time.

suzy
Feb. 9, 2011, 08:21 AM
Suzy, how does that quote contradict what Rugbygirl said?

Both are true.

Horse was in training for a while in US, once owner decided to keep horse, owner started lessons. Once owner and horse could w/t/c in their respective programs, horse came up here, and I started phasing owner over to riding her horse in lessons.

Is it the assumption that a late start in riding makes owner less dedicated?

This quote from you, "She is riding because she bought the horse, she did not buy the horse because she wanted to ride," makes it sound as though she is a great lover of horses, not necessarily a great lover of riding. You also described in some detail how much she enjoys just grooming the horse and taking care of her, which is very nice, but again it does not make her sound like a dedicated rider. You also said in your first post how you need help to encourage her to keep going with this horse. If she was really dedicated and committed to this particular horse, she would not need encouragement. We all have discouraging rides or even multiple discouraging rides. But those of us who are really dedicated "cowgirl" up to the challenge.

Dedication has nothing to do with the age at which a rider got started--it is an internal feeling. One of my most dedicated students did not start riding until she was 35 because she never had the opportunity until then. She comes to the barn even when it's 20 below 0, so I am well aware that a late start in riding does not indicate the level of dedication. In fact, I think that people who had to wait so long to make enough money to ride are apt to be more dedicated--they have a lot of catching up to do.

CHT
Feb. 9, 2011, 05:01 PM
I meant I need help to encourage her to get the horse going and keep it going, and to work through trouble spots, not to encourage her to ride the horse at all! If she didn't want to ride her horse, obviously that would put up big red flags for me and indicate we should discuss selling her.

She doesn't want to ride her horse when I am not around just in case she needs help (I posted before she doesn't ride outside of lessons, but realized that isn't true, she just doesn't ride if I am not around) which seems sensible to me!

Couture TB
Feb. 9, 2011, 05:40 PM
As a trainer if that was my student I would tell them to sell the horse and I would find them a suitable mount.

If they won't sell the horse be up front with them. The horse needs to be in training and maybe the owner take lessons on a nice packer.

quietann
Feb. 9, 2011, 09:47 PM
Any trainer who hasn't had to dumb down a nice little horse to meet the owner in the middle of the road...is...wellll...whatevah ;)

This was one of the things my old trainer did with my horse when I put her into training... She's a reactive, subtle, quick little thing and I was struggling with that, so a wee bit of dulling her to the aids was called for. Eventually we brought back (some of) the reactiveness when I was able to handle it better, had had more experiences with dealing with maresy's spooks etc.

katarine
Feb. 9, 2011, 09:53 PM
If she won't ride without you, and she can only afford you once a week: she needs a different horse. There is no other answer. This mare is therefore ridden, 5 times a month.

been there, done that. Owner took a while to get there, but owner now has a better horse. Working on my second, similar project. Neither is a horse I pointed them toward: both bought badly and pride is in their way. Don't compound the problem further, with your own pride.

Sunsets
Feb. 9, 2011, 11:18 PM
I may have missed this, but is she at a boarding barn? Does she ever ride in the presence of anyone else besides you?

If there are other riders there, maybe she just has to ride with them a few times to get used to it? I totally understand her reluctance to ride alone, but if there's a low-key regular barn crowd maybe you can introduce her to some of the other riders and get her used to riding with them. Once she realizes it can be fun and not intimidating to be out there with some pals it may give her a little more confidence.

Our barn group includes a rider who had a bad accident a few months ago. Under no circumstances will she ride alone. Most of the regulars have her cell #, and give her a text when we're heading out, so she knows when someone is there.

I don't think I got really comfortable with dealing with a horse hissy fit until I had to do it without a trainer's advice at hand. That's when I learned that I really could ride through that stuff - I was better than I realized! Though it's nice knowing someone else is around to help if required.

nessabird
Feb. 11, 2011, 02:27 PM
[QUOTE=mp;5412999]I guess that's why I keep replying to this thread. Instead of badgering her student to buy a different horse, the OP is trying to figure out how to help her learn to ride this one. And I respect that. Teaching a clueless adult how to ride is hard.

Exactly. The posters complaining about the OP and her instruction seem to think a green rider should not ever ride a green horse. IMO, it leaves me wondering if those posters don't have any useful information to share because they only know how to teach "green" riders on schoolmasters. It's alot easier than teaching a "green" rider on a "green" horse. That's why my old trainer gave up, she didn't know how to handle it. My new trainer worked with us and I bet she will think twice about telling any students to sell their horse just because they are both beginners. Being a beginner doesn't make you stupid, unable to ride, or without useful information to share on this board. And people wonder why I stopped going to USDF dressage shows and switched to eventing...:no:

candyappy
Feb. 11, 2011, 03:04 PM
Maybe if you rode the horse in a lesson while the owner rode a lesson horse at the same time? If you could have her do what you were doing then maybe she could get the feel and balance she is lacking? How can she improve her riding if she is always frustrated and her horse is not only frustrated, but getting mixed signals as well? You could teach her on the other horse how to be more assertive.

I was wondering if she really wants to ride at all? Or does she feel she has to because she has the horse??

learner
Feb. 12, 2011, 12:37 AM
Hey, CHT. Thanks for sticking with this horse/rider combo.

I started riding around age 47, no prior riding experience. Just realized that I missed being around horses when my daughter and her OTTB horse went off to college. (Yep, classic barn Mom here.) My daughter's horse mostly terrified me. :)

I took lessons, shareboarded, and after a couple years decided I wanted my very own horse. My daughter & I looked at several, but we ended up with a 3 YO Shagya/TB gelding, white. So he missed 3 of my search criteria by a long shot. Most certainly was supposed to avoid TBs, greenies, and white horses.

Well, my pony will be 12 in June. I think I've gone from pretty much sucking as a rider, to being an 'average' older adult ammy. And the transition has been over the last year, so I'm painfully slow. Along the way, I started Tai Chi classes ('cuz I was ridiculously stiff). I started jogging ('cuz I got winded riding a couple trot laps), and now I am overall in way better shape than I was 10 years ago.

I love my pony, and while the journey has appeared Don Quixotian at many times thru the years, I have zero regrets.

My 1st trainer, who ultimately did dump me after several years, had unending patience. So altho we crawled along for years, I always enjoyed the time spent with my horse. My current trainer knows when I am 'pushable' and when I need more of a confidence boost than a formal lesson.

So please carry on. I guess only suggestion might be for the rider to work on building fitness outside of riding.

yankeeclipper
Feb. 12, 2011, 10:05 AM
I'm not a green rider but I can relate to riding a young green horse. They need consistency plain and simple. If the owner is an inconsistent, timid rider then it would serve both her and the horse best to figure out how to afford to put her horse in training with you so she can benefit from the consistent work. Short term financial loss for long term gain. I found that 3 days a week worked well for my horse and I. Two days trainer rode and I took a lesson once a week and rode two days preferably the day after the trainer rode. In this way I benefited from the training ride the day before.


My horse and I are over the training hump and I only take a couple of lessons per month.

Good luck.

smm20
Feb. 12, 2011, 10:47 PM
This may be a really stupid idea... have you tried training the horse to respond to voice commands from the ground?

I taught beginners at a riding camp and there were always a few kids who were afraid to trot - the would pretend to ask the horse to trot, but wouldn't actually ask because they were nervous. I always put them up on the horse that would respond to ME - a few clucks from the ground, and voila, they were trotting.

Perhaps you could spend some time teaching the horse to lunge correctly and at the same time teach the rider to lunge the horse. This might take a while, but it will accomplish a few things. First, the horse may eventually become suitable for lunge lessons (try lunging it with an advanced student on board reinforcing the aids so that it gets the idea). Second, the horse will learn to respond to voice commands from the ground, giving you another tool to use during lessons. Third, teaching the rider to lunge her horse will give her another situation in which she will be required to ask her horse to do things.

CHT
Feb. 13, 2011, 07:43 PM
Owner is temporarily sidelined from riding due to a non-horse related injury, so I had her do some ground work as outlined in Michael Schaffer's new book "Riding in the Moment". I am using his excercises to help train my filly that can't be lunged much due to an injury, and it clicked in my brain that this might be perfect stuff to help green rider understand some riding theories without acually being in the saddle. Just getting her to get the horse to lead up by her shoulder helped make her more observant of horse slowing down and correcting it in a timely fashion. It was great! I also was able to show and explain how to do a TOF from the ground, and how it is important to make sure horse waits for all three steps for the request, and not let her get ahead of us by trying to answer after only step 2. She processed how correction doesn't need to mean discipline, and how working quietly makes more of an impact than large commands do.

Last week I also made a discovery; owner hadn't put the saddle back completely right after changing the gullet, so a little strap was possibly irritating horse; I don't usually ride in her saddle, but have been lately, and noticed horse would get progressively worse as week went on (horse normally has good work ethic), so hoping that this was part of the issue!

So all in all, I think owner, horse and I are on the right track!

Thank you for all the words of encouragement, support and ideas!

rugbygirl
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:02 PM
She loves to groom and tidy up that horse, and now working on subtle ground cueing...feel like pulling out your Showmanship experience :D

I've been doing that with my baby, the Western people have it down to a fine art, all those cues and pivots...controlling the hoof you want, when you want is a really good thing to work with. It also makes you aware of what kinds of things make your horse move, how much/little pressure it can take, etc...if you teach "square" on the ground it is a lot easier to get it from the saddle too, and that halt is always worth 10!

katarine
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:13 PM
As one of the head shakers on this thread, I can only say that my concern is based in my own history with newbie riders on their own green horses. Can it work? Yes.

Does it typically work out as quickly, as smoothly, or as easily...as the more traditional model of green rider on seasoned horse? No, it doesn't. So I've seen riders lose confidence and courage, feet rooted to the ground b/c they are afraid to ride their own horse unless the trainer is right there to guide them, or trapped at walking in the small arena because walking that horse down the trail is too scary. That just makes me sad for them. This is supposed to be fun.

I won't bore you with stories by way of example, suffice to say that it's not about my unwillingness to work with them, it's based in a history of said green riders staying stuck, b/c they need the horse to step up and show them how it works, but the horse doesn't know, and the rider can't see what to do in order to help them know...there's a little vicious circle there. They don't know what they don't know, both of 'em. If the horse is in full training, sure, or if the horse is somewhat seasoned to being ridden and is sorta dull, maybe.

I do wish CHT well, I just wanted to explain briefly my own skepticism.

mp
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the update, CHT. It sounds like you're on the right track.

suzy
Feb. 14, 2011, 01:03 PM
As one of the head shakers on this thread, I can only say that my concern is based in my own history with newbie riders on their own green horses. Can it work? Yes.

Does it typically work out as quickly, as smoothly, or as easily...as the more traditional model of green rider on seasoned horse? No, it doesn't. So I've seen riders lose confidence and courage, feet rooted to the ground b/c they are afraid to ride their own horse unless the trainer is right there to guide them, or trapped at walking in the small arena because walking that horse down the trail is too scary. That just makes me sad for them. This is supposed to be fun.

I won't bore you with stories by way of example, suffice to say that it's not about my unwillingness to work with them, it's based in a history of said green riders staying stuck, b/c they need the horse to step up and show them how it works, but the horse doesn't know, and the rider can't see what to do in order to help them know...there's a little vicious circle there. They don't know what they don't know, both of 'em. If the horse is in full training, sure, or if the horse is somewhat seasoned to being ridden and is sorta dull, maybe.

I do wish CHT well, I just wanted to explain briefly my own skepticism.

Ditto. Enough said.

jenm
Feb. 16, 2011, 04:35 PM
This thread is near and dear to my heart. I'm an adult re-rider with a green horse that didn't even begin to really work under saddle until she was nine. I have been through SO MANY ups and downs with this horse, but the low points have never been so bad as to make me even think of giving up on this horse.

What really helped us was finding and working with a trainer who really believed in my horse. It has taken time, patience, understanding and more time for my horse to finally be in a place where she "gets it". She has only recently gotten past her lightbulb moment and is turning into a soft, well moving horse who only wants to please the rider. :)

I realized that me staying off her for a while was a great idea. I did take her out for hacks on a loose rein, but I left the real riding to my trainer. Best decision I could have made.

My horse has gone from being tense, nervous and jiggy at the walk during a test, to one who recently received an 8 on her free walk at a rated show.

CHT, you are right, it is indeed ALL about the journey, not the destination and it sounds like the horse and rider are in good hands. The key is to celebrate every small accomplishment and be realistic enough to know there will be setbacks. As others have pointed out, riding is supposed to be FUN and it can be as long as rider and trainer are on the same page and have the best interest of the horse at heart. I wish all three of you the best and look forward to hearing about your progress.

P.S. While the owner is temporarily sidelined from riding, I would encourage her to spend lots of time doing groundwork with her horse, and even playing some fun games. (Not the Pepperoni games though ;) just sayin) There is nothing wrong with spending time "pretty-ing" up the horse, but spending constructive time on the ground will help the pair later on when under saddle.

psb
Aug. 15, 2013, 01:33 PM
Either the owner should learn how to cope with the situation and understand that this is not the horse's fault but hers and try to solve such minor problems (not wanting to go forward, stopping for no reason and going inside track...)or get another horse to ride on. She needs to understand that she needs to invest in time and money in this green horse. Being only ridden 1 time per week is certainly not helping...

A green horse deserves the best rider possible. A green rider deserves the best horse possible.


This!!! I had the same problem, but it was not an option to replace the horse. At least she has access to training. I also agree with riding the horse for her in the first part of the lesson, then having her get on and trying to duplicate. If she can ride a lesson horse some, that would also help. Is she riding once a week, or is she taking one lesson a week and riding more? If she is only riding once a week, I don't see it working. However, she can learn even if she can only afford one lesson per week. It will just take a lot longer.