View Full Version : How often do you ride OPH?

Jun. 20, 2011, 06:30 PM
OPH = other peoples' horses?

Especially if you have your own.

How often do you take people up on these "offers"? I'm writing about horses that sure, you'll learn from, because we learn something from every horse we ride, but not who are levels beyond you who will teach you how to ride advanced movements, but horses that belong to very nice people and are primarily pleasure or trail riding horses. They're not straight, or balanced, or used to being in a contact, and any "work" you put into them won't be maintained by their regular riders who are people you like very much and don't want to insult or disappoint. And being an amateur, of course your only payment is the satisfaction you get from the ride.

And if you'd rather not accept the invitations you receive, how do you gracefully decline? What do you say?

I imagine there are a number of very talented ammies on this board that are asked to "exercise" or school or actually train horses by people who admire their riding.

I know for sure there are people on this board who have wonderful ways of phrasing responses to all kinds of situations! I look forward to your ideas on this.

Jun. 20, 2011, 06:45 PM
I have a friend with a horse I simply don't enjoy riding. She's the opposite of my horse - very level, steady rhythm, and completely unadjustable. I am able to make her go forward when her owner has trouble with that, but overall - she's not so fun. That said, she's great for me.

I find my horse to be the easiest horse I've ever ridden, both for riding in general as well as teaching and improving. Riding other people's horses keeps me challenged and remembering what it's like to really have to work to keep a horse from not leaning on my hands and dumping its weight on the forehand, to keep a horse moving the direction I want with its body facing how I want. The horse I ride every day is going to fit my preference. But if I don't ride horses who are different, I will not continue to be the well-rounded rider I try to be.

That said, if someone says they want me to train their horse, I will tell them I'm an amateur, so I can't. I don't have the time to ride a horse enough to train it, and most likely don't want to.

Jun. 20, 2011, 07:22 PM
Oh, great. Like we needed another acronym out here. :lol:

Old Fashioned
Jun. 20, 2011, 08:52 PM
Very rarely will I throw a leg over a horse that isn't mine. Most of the riders at my barn are beginer-intermediate. Their saintly horses reflect that and are usually sluggish and heavy. My horses are forward and light. It's like owning a powerful sport car and being asked to drive a geo metro. ;)

Jun. 20, 2011, 09:59 PM
I am generally happy to ride other people's horses.
If I can help horse/rider over a training hump I am glad to do it.

I ride on a pro card now but generally only charge if I am in a consistent training relationship with the horse. A "one off" here and there I am happy to do for free. Also if a horse is particularly nice or I particularly enjoy riding it I will do it for free or at cost (no money to me but the horse's expenses are paid by owner). I make my money of something other than horses so I don't mind.

I also like going to friend's places and riding theirs or meeting new horses through friends of friends where we are all riding together. I don't care if it is a "nice" horse or not; generally I can find something to love about every horse.

Although I do appreciate mine that go straight and light all the more when I'm done. One of my sayings is, "Nothing makes me appreciate my horses like other people's horses." :lol:

Jun. 20, 2011, 10:31 PM
Well, I can't ride for cr*p so I don't get too many offers. Except a friend who has a gelding she'll put me on occasionally if I ask (he is a good horse for longe lessons.) There are a few at my barn I would ride if it was offered, but more I would refuse on account of knowing we're a bad match (e.g. I don't do well with horses that bolt, or bolt-n-buck, and there are a couple of those. Oddly enough, my own mare's occasional drop-n-spin or sideways teleport spook doesn't bother me in the slightest. But I'm used to that.)

Jun. 20, 2011, 10:40 PM
Not often because I'm an amateur and have 4 that I own (one of those is leased out so I don't have to ride him). The other horses in my barn are boarders and so I cannot ride them.

Jun. 20, 2011, 10:40 PM
I have a fellow boarders gelding for the summer while the owner is out of state so I am riding him 2-3 days a week and another mare once a week. I will also hop on any horse given the opportunity to do so. Last year I hacked hunt horses and I regularly rode 7-8 different horses each month and I absolutely loved it.

Old Fashioned
Jun. 21, 2011, 03:20 PM
Wanted to add. I might not get on someone else's horse very often but if a rider is having trouble with coordinating the aids or what a movement should feel like I will let them use my older horse for part of a lesson. Then they can try to reproduce it with their own horse. {sharing is caring!} :winkgrin:

Jun. 21, 2011, 03:30 PM
Since Tru passed, every horse I ride is someone else's. And I ride 4 or 5 days a week right now, sometimes up to 3 horses a day. So I get a lot of variety, but I love it.

When I had Tru I still rode other horses about 50% of the time. Granted, most of the other horses belong to my trainer and were horses that I was riding before I got Tru. But I swore to myself I was never going to be a One Horse Rider because I don't think that's very wise in the long run. I also shared Tru with the other students if he was needed for a lunge lesson (his specialty) or something else.

Right now I spend a majority of my time on a 9 year old Appaloosa Sporthorse stallion and a 21 year old TB mare, with some minor time on a 16 year old TB gelding and a middle aged QH gelding. There is another TB gelding that I'd like to get back to work with as soon as I have the time/energy (super greenie). I love it. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Jun. 21, 2011, 03:45 PM
Pretty rarely. My trainer will let me ride her GP horse on occasion when I'm having trouble feeling something on my own. Occasionally, she asks me to hop on another client horse to fix something- which I always oblige. If she is in FL and I'm not, she lets me ride whichever of hers she left home if I can find the time (which is rarely).

With only a few exceptions, when other riders ask me to ride their horses, I tell them I work full time and just don't have the time or energy to commit. It is almost always the truth- but it also helps me avoid situations where I feel like their trainer will feel like I'm stepping on toes, and instances where I think no good will come out of me trying to lend a hand.

Jun. 21, 2011, 04:23 PM
I often thank the person and say their horse looks fun to ride, but I'm so busy with X I'm not able to at the moment.

When my horse is off I tend to ride about anything but lately all my time is focused on my own guy.

I think it's important to set the terms up front, like what you/they expect. One particular horse was a real demon to handle but surprisingly obedient under saddle. The owner kept making rules about "well he doesn't like being X this way" or "he doesn't like the sun/shade/rain/snow/cold air so don't ride on those days". Truthfully, the horse was just a track horse who was used to getting his way. He would bite/flatten ears/cow kick anybody he could, including the owner. She wanted me to show him but wouldn't let me trim his mane or anything else as she didn't think he would "like" it.

Finally I just became "busy" with other horses. I was happy to be in the saddle but working with a monster like that whose bad behavior was reinforced by her made it a waste of my time.

Later I heard he kicked her, broke her leg around the knee and was put up for sale shortly after.

Jun. 21, 2011, 06:08 PM
Virtually never, but that's mainly from lack of opportunity. I board at a super small, private barn where a good portion of the horses are essentially retired, and my trainer doesn't have any lesson/school masters available. When I was younger, my friends and I routinely swapped horses for lessons, and sometimes just for fun. It really improved my riding and quite frankly, I miss it.

Jun. 21, 2011, 06:19 PM
ALL I have ridden in the last 2 1/2 years are OPHs as I had to rehome my TB mare at that time and have ridden a varity of horses during that time that has givenme oppotunity to learn alot from each of them and to work on several different issues both mine and theirs. my new horse gets devivered the 2nd week in July and I am crazy excited to be able to settle into a regular program and just stepout my back door to ride!!! I will always be grateful for the kindness of my friend/s provideing me with horses to tie me over these last few years with intresting horses to ride and am glad they felt a mutual gratitude for what I was able to bring to their horses!!! :winkgrin:

Jun. 21, 2011, 09:32 PM
I've always enjoyed riding others horses, as they can indeed all teach us something. I also find it interesting to feel the difference in others horses. My instructor always encouraged me to do so, and over the years I've taken as much advantage as I can, whether I'm being paid or not.

That being said, in my "mature" age, and since the birth of my daughter, there are some horses I'm not so keen on riding. I don't get on just anything, especially rearing horses. Buckers don't bother me, nor to bolters, but rearing -- eh, I'll pass. Some horses just aren't worth the risk for a "trial" ride.

PS -- ALWAYS wear your helmet when trying someone else's horse. :) That's all I'll say about it.

Jun. 21, 2011, 10:58 PM
horses that belong to very nice people and are primarily pleasure or trail riding horses. They're not straight, or balanced, or used to being in a contact, and any "work" you put into them won't be maintained by their regular riders who are people you like very much and don't want to insult or disappoint. And being an amateur, of course your only payment is the satisfaction you get from the ride.

Ah this is the story of my life. All I've done for the last 10 years is ride other people's pleasure horses. I'm grateful for the people who have shared their horses with me. I'm thankful for everything I've learned from each one.

It is not always easy though, because sometimes the rides are sporadic. So you are not really making progress on anything, and you don't really have a relationship with the horse, which I find difficult. Sometimes it is a string of rides on the same horse for weeks or months, which I enjoy more, but even that is a challenge for me.... not the actual riding, but the mental part of having to remind myself it is not my horse.

All I can do is ride them to the best of my ability, treat them as if they are my own, and be thankful for their owners' generosity in sharing them with me.

Jun. 21, 2011, 11:38 PM
The more I ride other people's horses, the more I love the one I have. Though the other people's horses are usually green or have issues. I love to ride other horses- you learn so much. We just got a rescue and I hopped on having no idea if he would buck or rear- he was nice. Took him on a trail ride he was great. I have also shown other people's horses when mine was out of commission or because the owner wanted me to.

Jun. 22, 2011, 06:52 AM
I will get on literally anything for the experience.

Jun. 22, 2011, 08:37 AM
Thanks for all the responses, especially ones with suggestions on how to respond graciously to invitations that I don't want to accept.

The horse is a very sweet safe trail horse whose very very nice trail-riding owner has dressage aspirations for her horse fueled by magazine articles and television shows ... but no interest in doing the work itself (or spending money on lessons from any one of the good instructors in the area).

It's just not something I want to devote the energy that would be necessary, but I don't want to BE the jerk that I think this sounds like :no:

Jun. 22, 2011, 09:30 AM
As often as time and opportunity allow. My guy is top priority, and my schedule doesn't aLlow for keeping a second in even half time work, alas, but I catch every ride I can. If I can improve a horse's lot, whatever that means for his situation, that's great. if I can help out an owner, ditto. I'm not fussy about what I ride. I'm very serious about progressing my own, but I can learn fom or practice and refine some of my own stuff on absolutely any horse, and if something just needs a hack out, well, that's fun, too, and I'm not too good for that. I like horses and riding, that's all. If it's not dangerous and I can make the time to fit it in, I'm glad to do so.

So my answer if I'm declining is easy: Would love to, but don't have the time right now.

Word to the wide: I am not the only person I know who has a nice, fun, well-schooled horse and will sometimes loan him out but gives preference to backup riders who make the most of and appreciate alllll horses and opportunities.