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DottieHQ
May. 9, 2012, 08:19 AM
What do you do when you feel like you have too much horse? Not necessarily too much in the size department but just...too much.
TIA

lwd
May. 9, 2012, 08:26 AM
No FUN!!! Just anxiety, stressed out.

SillyHorse
May. 9, 2012, 09:33 AM
You can find that horse a different situation (sell, give away, retire to pasture) and get one you can ride, or you can put the horse in training until someone makes it rideable for you.

ets: and teaches you how to ride and enjoy it.

ideayoda
May. 9, 2012, 09:55 AM
Work them more effectively, and learn how to handle what is being created.

quietann
May. 9, 2012, 10:12 AM
Lots of ways to proceed. If you don't want to work through it, sell/lease horse (preferably while in training, and with full disclosure that you are selling it because it's too much horse for you.)

Or, you can pursue getting yourself and the horse on the same page. I was in this situation... Mare was hot, spooky, and very clever. We went into full training and stayed there for over a year; I did very little riding at first, just let the trainer work with her, and then very gradually worked up to more comfort with her. We were showing at the end of a year. I switched barns after that but continued taking lessons. We do better if a pro rides her once a week.

I did really have to push my own boundaries as a rider, getting out and about and deliberately putting us in spooky situations. What I discovered, along the way, is that the mare is very honest, and actually quite safe. She can still be difficult, and I have scratched a few show because of it, but I really enjoy her now. I am not point-chasing or trying to move way up the levels with her, so I'm a lot more flexible about my definition of "success."

By the way, there should be no shame in saying "this is too much horse for me." You never really know with a horse until you've had it a while.

netg
May. 9, 2012, 10:22 AM
It depends what makes it too much horse.


My horse has moments where he gets explosive - dangerously explosive. In those moments, he gets side reins and a longe line, because while he hasn't managed to actually buck me or my trainer off yet, the word is *yet.* He is the most athletic horse I have ever ridden, and is easily capable of getting us off. That kind of garbage needs professional help and wet saddle blankets plus looking at possible physical issues (he just started ulcer treatment in coordination with vet recommendations.)


On the other hand, if a horse is a spooker it may just honestly be fearful of things. If you feel that's too much for you to deal with, training may or may not fix it - and it's intelligent to admit it and look for a different answer. When my horse is not explosive but just very FORWARD he gets powerful, and I absolutely love it. Another situation where that might scare a lot of people, but I absolutely love the feeling and am glad he feels like that more and more often - but if it bothered someone, they'd be better off finding a horse like him a new home.


If it's something where a pro can help, working through it can be rewarding. But if it's something where the horse is a fundamentally poor match for you there is no real blame, and trying to find a more suited home so you can find a horse you enjoy more is not only acceptable, but smart.

mp
May. 9, 2012, 10:39 AM
What qa said. Learn how to ride the "too much" (with professional help). Or if that's not what you want to do, sell or lease the horse with full disclosure of whatever it is that makes him too much for you.

15 years ago, I chose the first option because the only horse that wouldn't have been too much for me was the kind you put a quarter in. But there is no shame in moving the horse along. You just need to choose what will make you happy.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

Bearskin
May. 9, 2012, 10:43 AM
All of the above are insightful and helpful replies. HOWEVER -- do not ever feel bad or guilty if it is just something you don't want to deal with. Find both of you a better situation that you will enjoy.

inca
May. 9, 2012, 10:50 AM
Horses are too expensive to not have some fun along the way. If the horse is truly "too much horse" for you and you have tried your best to make it work, have your trainer help you sell the horse and find one that is suitable and fun for you.

MysticOakRanch
May. 9, 2012, 10:50 AM
-- do not ever feel bad or guilty if it is just something you don't want to deal with. Find both of you a better situation that you will enjoy.

This is so true! Better to start off with "less" horse, develop a comfort zone and some confidence, enjoy riding, and then some day, maybe buy more horse - or just stick with the horse you are happy with! Don't be miserable - this is suppose to be fun!

suzy
May. 9, 2012, 10:53 AM
If you aren't looking forward to riding your horse on a daily basis, don't have the time or money to hire a pro to help you and, most importantly, don't feel safe, than it's too much horse IMO. And, like others have said, there is no shame in moving on to a horse better suited to your current lifestyle and rehoming your current horse with someone better suited to handling his needs. Anyone who has been around horses long enough has been confronted with this dilemma.

rizzodm
May. 9, 2012, 11:15 AM
Dottie I have watched people with too much horse become stressed out and scared of their horses. Riding was no longer any fun for them and they lost alot of confidence. Three that I am thinking of now all worked with pro's but that did not change the personality of the horse. All three have moved on to too much quieter horses and are very happy now and have rebuilt their confidence in the saddle.

SmartAlex
May. 9, 2012, 11:29 AM
In my case, I worked through it, one baby step at a time, and it made me a better rider than I knew I could be. There were days I just didn't feel I could rise to the occassion, and those days I just groomed or did ground work. Looking back, I'm glad I stuck with it. But you have to want to. If you don't want to, find a different horse.

Superminion
May. 9, 2012, 11:36 AM
If this horse has already made you nervous/scared you probably aren't going to get very far. IMO, you'll feed off one another and end up just going around in dirty, dangerous circles.

A good horse person can realize that some horse/rider combination just don't work, no matter how hard you try, and it is okay to move on from that horse if you are worried about your safety. If possible, lease out the horse that you feel overmounted on, and lease a safer one to help you gain your confidence back. Then you can try to work back up to the other horse, or if you still feel like it isn't going to happen, sell him and move on.

NOMIOMI1
May. 9, 2012, 11:48 AM
Someone once told me dressage eventually gets too hard for you to keep a dream horse that would rather dump you in the dirt.

It is soooooo true.

Eventually you get to a level that you need every brain cell for just ONE movement. If and when that happens ole King Opius the third may be the lovliest pony this side of the horsey rainbow but you will fail to notice anymore when the cow legged mule next to you has a beautiful 8 half pass ... Lol

You cannot explain to the judge how beautiful and promising your horse is.

You cannot score potential.

Find safe today.

dwblover
May. 9, 2012, 12:19 PM
How is the horse too much for you? Too much forward power and big gaits? If so you can eventually learn to ride those gaits and absolutely LOVE them in time. Even if you are timid I promise you can learn to love that power!:D

If however you mean too much like the horse is naughty, a bucker, or very spooky, I would say that is much harder to deal with and this horse may need a different rider.

A horse that is powerful with big gaits, but is honest and trustworthy will help you gradually build your confidence up ride by ride until you are loving the ride.

A horse that spooks constantly, or attempts to remove you from the saddle will most likely destroy your confidence ride by ride until you don't want to ride at all. Don't let it get that far. There are plently of horses and riders out there and not every horse matches every rider.

jlmckinley
May. 9, 2012, 12:44 PM
I echo the question in what way too? Too much movement and power? Too much unpredictability mentally?

I have a homebred that I love but he can be very spooky and reactive and too much horse for me sometimes. Let's just say that my next horse is going to be a very different personality, even though I love this guy.

I am learning to work through it positively, but did change our course along the way to focus more on his strengths (dressage) versus my goal (eventing). He is interesting in that 70% of the time, he is pretty predictable and laid back. His 30% of 'bad days' include spooking at sand underneath him that is a different color, or just not being able to recover from the wheel barrow that was moved to a different location, or spooking when I laugh (yes this happened in a lesson last week, a good lesson too. . . .) and I am learning how to productively and positively stay in the saddle, not get mad, and work through these. Most of it is focused on keeping his mind busy on things I want him to think about, constantly. Constantly asking for different movements or adjustments or change of bend etc. so he is focused on me versus his environment. It is exhausting but it is paying off and my trainer has helped alot with guidance for our routine.

avance7
May. 9, 2012, 12:52 PM
I think sometimes a horse and rider just don't click. That's how I felt about my last horse and I ended up having to sell him. I tried 2 different trainers and lessons on him but we kept falling back into the same problems. He could be very naughty and I got to the point where I dreaded riding him. That's when I had to make a decision to sell and quit dumping $ into a horse that just wasn't going to work for me. However his new owner is retired, has time to work with him every day, and also is training him to a new sport which he seems to like much better. I felt like crap for having to sell him but in the end it worked out - my horse has a great new home & I am saving $$ to put towards another horse.

mp
May. 9, 2012, 01:11 PM
His 30% of 'bad days' include spooking at sand underneath him that is a different color, or just not being able to recover from the wheel barrow that was moved to a different location

Have you been riding my horse? ;)

My marvelous homebred is now good about 90% of the time ... which makes it even more interesting when he spooks at the water tank that's been moved 10 ft or the shaft of sunlight in the arena or the pad someone left on the arena rail. And all this after a rigorous 45 minute lesson.

I will give him credit, though. He gets it back together pretty quickly, even if the first reaction is a bit over the top. And it's about time. He's 12 years old. :lol:

JackSprats Mom
May. 9, 2012, 03:14 PM
If he's too much and you're not enjoying it you have two options...keep going and work through it (which I did and am glad I did) or sell.

Depends on the light at the end of the tunnel and your long term goals.

RodeoHunter
May. 9, 2012, 03:20 PM
Something to think about is that the longer you put up with it (even if you are slowly progressing), the longer it can take to undo the after effects once you do move on to a new horse......ie. from a rider confidence/emotional perspective. Of course this depends on the level of anxiety/frustration and the rider's ability to move past old issues, but this was a big one for me after finally letting go of the one that was too much.

flashwhitelock
May. 9, 2012, 07:14 PM
lease to someone that can make him right (kids doing the young riders under a bnt are great for this) and then lease something you can ride until you're is right.

other option is sell.

not worth hitting your head against the brick wall. I mean this literally and figuratively. not worth it.

cnm161
May. 9, 2012, 07:16 PM
Some people love other peoples' "too much horse". That's how I bought both of mine: their former owners said they were too much, but they're just right for me. It's not a sin to sell a horse.

You can't learn if you're afraid, even if it's a subtle fear (what if he spooks? What if he bucks?). Tension is the enemy of good dressage work, and that applies to both horse and rider.

So. Delineate what you like about the horse. What's good? What's overwhelming? And do this before you sell/lease/put him in training, just so you know what not to shop for or look at next time.

While training helps a lot, the goal of dressage is to make the horse more sensitive to the aids. If he's too reactive already (and OP, I don't know what "too much horse" means to you, but that's generally what "too much horse" meant for the people I bought my ponies from), upping his training might not help unless the trainer purposefully tones him down.

I'd stick with him if he doesn't make you afraid. If he does, time to move him on to a different home.

SnicklefritzG
May. 9, 2012, 11:36 PM
You can find that horse a different situation (sell, give away, retire to pasture) and get one you can ride, or you can put the horse in training until someone makes it rideable for you.

ets: and teaches you how to ride and enjoy it.

My horse went through a bit of a naughty phase earlier this spring after coming off some saddle fitting issues that caused a very sore back. A really good teacher/trainer helped me work through it and now the stuff that used to really bother me is no longer part of the picture. And even when my horse has a moment, my teacher has helped me learn how to be more "zen" about it and get back on track.

Derby Lyn Farms
May. 9, 2012, 11:43 PM
I am one of those people who LOVE those horses that are too much for other people. I especially love them red headed mares:) However, I don't like a spooky horse or a plain nasty horse. So if you decide to get rid of your horse that is too much for you, don't think you have to retire or give him/her away. I have a hard time finding this type of horse for sale! I learned to ride on a horse that was probably too much for me, but I was not scared. I learned a lot on that horse. If this horse is making you lose your confidence then it is probably too much horse.

DottieHQ
May. 10, 2012, 12:28 AM
Thanks everybody! Great tips...and frankly, you've all clarified something in one way or another because this issue of "what exactly is too much?" was slightly ambiguous, even to me.
As far as being a confidence killer, yes, miss redhead has started to do that to me...I don't know if any of you have seen my other post about her being nervous because she's in a new barn (almost a month now, actually...), but it's her nerves that kill my confidence. Lately I don't even feel that comfortable walking her from the barn to the arena (it's a loong walk...as in long enough to count as a warm-up and cool-down before and after rides). She's spooked, she balks (that's not a big deal), but I also feel like one of these days she's just going to walk right over top of me because she's too pre-occupied with that little rustle she just heard from behind the trees and she doesn't care where she walks or who she walks on. I realize that this is more of a rider weakness/error, but sometimes I wonder if I just need a horse who teaches me instead of the other way around. By teaches, I mean a horse who can really develop my confidence as a rider and overall horsewoman(girl?) because in all honesty, I don't recall ever having true confidence all this time I've been with horses...except for when I was leasing this super-quiet med. size QH gelding who was as close to bomb-proof as I'd ever seen. Ms. redhead is really not "hot", but she's the type of horse who will either
a) do what you ask and do it well (if you ask right)
b) do what you ask, but do it begrudgingly (and half-ass it too)
c) ignore you, then play the role of victim because you even asked her to do such a thing (she likes to show some...sass occasionally)
d) nearly shut down and look to the rider for complete guidance, security, and stability.

It's the fourth thing I listed that starting to become slightly problematic. She has at least on of those moments every ride. What's problematic about it is that I'm not sure if I'm capable of giving her the support, authority, and guidance she needs when that happens. Again, this is because I've not really had the chance to develop true confidence with her (and I've had her for almost two years now).
Since my lengthy freight-train of a post has now reached the topic of our rides, let's talk about that...
she used to be very relaxed under saddle and any tenseness was purely out of frustration (again, she likes to show her feelings). Now, she's tense the whole ride and at least once it seems like it's not a matter of if something something will happen, but when. Did I mention I have confidence issues? Yeah. By no means is this lovely horsey dangerous. But I'm starting to wonder if we're a good match for each other. Also, I wonder if she's a good match for what I want to do (dressage). She's a great jumper, and she's always preferred jumping to flat work... :sigh:
ETA: We're one of those horse-rider pairs that has the ability to look good together without actually "clicking"...she is after all, broke, sane, and and well-trained for the most part...the same could be said for me. Does that make any sense? Does any of this make any sense? :sadsmile:

Beentheredonethat
May. 10, 2012, 01:36 AM
Go with your heart. You want to enjoy what you do, and her, too.

I had a rescue horse I rehabbed that I worked up in dressage, and though he did it, it wasn't his thing. He loved to jump. I made sure and finally found him the perfect home where he was much better appreciated. He wasn't too much in that sense, but more of what you're talking about. And though he was a good boy, he wasn't my "kind" of horse. He deserved someone where he was their kind.

Maybe you just need a break and to do something else, maybe you need to find something that feels more right to you, or maybe you need to make a breakthrough. What feels right to you?

Twisted River
May. 10, 2012, 03:05 AM
My 2 cents: get a new horse. It sounds like you 2 aren't a good match for each other. She makes you edgy, and you put her on edge. Your skill level and her level of training are seemingly only helping to mask the problem. I don't think she sounds like a "buyer beware" type either, she's probably lovely under a laid back, confident sort of rider.

Riding the "right" horse is so much fun. You catch yourself grinning ear to ear during lessons when you've learned something new. Reflecting on your rides reliably puts a smile on your face. You look forward to seeing video of your rides rather than cringing through it. You get the point. :). If riding your mare isn't bringing joy into your life than why not sell or trade for a mount that does?

I've certainly ridden and owned horses that didn't fit me and caused lots of stress. When I would finally decide it was better to move on, I would wonder why I took so long to make an obvious decision. Sure, not everything is roses and lollipops and there is much reward and satisfaction that comes with perserverance and getting outside your comfort zone. But you have to pick your battles wisely and know when to raise the white flag. The great horses in my life are some of my fondest memories that I wouldn't trade for the world. I don't know why we sometimes keep ourselves from so much potential joy.

TheHotSensitiveType
May. 10, 2012, 11:37 AM
...
Riding the "right" horse is so much fun. You catch yourself grinning ear to ear during lessons when you've learned something new. Reflecting on your rides reliably puts a smile on your face....

I've certainly ridden and owned horses that didn't fit me and caused lots of stress. When I would finally decide it was better to move on, I would wonder why I took so long to make an obvious decision.....

Could not agree with Twisted River more. I finally sold the wrong horse; she made riding not fun at all (sorry, it sounds like your mare is doing this to you too). Mine was only interested in basic flatwork and jumping, and I wanted to do dressage up the levels. We fought ALL THE TIME. Now that she has moved on to a jumping home, she could not be happier and neither could I.

She sounds like a nice horse for someone else, and you need to find a horse that you find fun to handle/ride.

NOMIOMI1
May. 10, 2012, 11:52 AM
Some forms of training also do not match certain horses. A friend of mine has a nice hot horse that she works very forward and that works for them. Mine will get super big if I do just forward forward forward.

You mention she used to be good undersaddle what has changed since then?

Langfuhr
May. 10, 2012, 12:17 PM
I think sometimes a horse and rider just don't click. That's how I felt about my last horse and I ended up having to sell him. I tried 2 different trainers and lessons on him but we kept falling back into the same problems. He could be very naughty and I got to the point where I dreaded riding him. That's when I had to make a decision to sell and quit dumping $ into a horse that just wasn't going to work for me. However his new owner is retired, has time to work with him every day, and also is training him to a new sport which he seems to like much better. I felt like crap for having to sell him but in the end it worked out - my horse has a great new home & I am saving $$ to put towards another horse.

Ditto. Ive been there once, told myself a million excuses while I "worked" around the truth, ultimately shattering my confidence. The horse wasnt bad at all, I just wasnt the right person for him. We're both in happy, second relationships now!!

happymom
May. 10, 2012, 12:24 PM
If you ask the question, I bet you know the answer already. Life is short, horses are plentiful. Ego can ruin both.

belgianWBLuver
May. 10, 2012, 01:26 PM
Or, you can pursue getting yourself and the horse on the same page. I was in this situation... Mare was hot, spooky, and very clever. We went into full training and stayed there for over a year; I did very little riding at first, just let the trainer work with her, and then very gradually worked up to more comfort with her. We were showing at the end of a year. I switched barns after that but continued taking lessons. We do better if a pro rides her once a week.

I did really have to push my own boundaries as a rider, getting out and about and deliberately putting us in spooky situations. What I discovered, along the way, is that the mare is very honest, and actually quite safe. She can still be difficult, and I have scratched a few show because of it, but I really enjoy her now. I am not point-chasing or trying to move way up the levels with her, so I'm a lot more flexible about my definition of "success."

This^ because I work fulltime and throughout his 4th and 5th year I needed the help of a pro. I found a pro whom I really like and trust and now my boy gets a pro ride or ground workout twice/week. I get 2 lessons/week. I give him 1 ground work/week and 2 days of just turnout/week. He has become safe, reliable and generally wonderful at home. Still a bit of a monster away - so I take him away to get shod, travel to the vet, school at a safe away venue, schooling shows, and anything else I can go to with a safe venue. Over time he is becoming less effected away from home - it will take alot more time but I'd prefer to be safe than hurried, and our outings will be rock solid when we move up to the larger shows...

catbird321
May. 10, 2012, 02:05 PM
From what you've said, it sounds like you're unhappy with her. Listen to your inner voice.

I have a hot redheaded mare who has reared and dumped a rider with a lot more experience than I have. I was told by that rider, and my my former trainer that she was "too much for me" and that I should sell her and buy something quieter. I didn't.

I stuck with her because in my heart I felt she was the right horse for me and I knew I could learn a LOT from her if I put the effort in. I found a patient trainer with lots of time to help us work together as a team. She rides her 2x per week and I ride her 3x... one of those is a lesson. We are really progressing now and I feel that spontaneous grin on my face when I'm riding her most of the time. :-)

My mare is very sensitive and powerful and forward, but she's not spooky in the least. She's smart and wants to please and loves to learn new things. She's almost like an overachiever. Now that she understands what I'm asking and I'm becoming a better rider she's softened so much... I no longer feel intimidated by her. And, when I do ask for it more power is RIGHT there which is an awesome feeling!

I personally do not enjoy a spooky, flighty horse and wouldn't want to own one. If that were the problem I wouldn't have stuck it out.... but that's just me. Only you can really know what you want from a horse and what you don't want. Listen to your gut.

mickeydoodle
May. 10, 2012, 10:14 PM
Why bother with a horse that scares you? Life is unpredictable enough, sell it and get a horse you love when your butt's in the saddle.

PiaffePlease
May. 10, 2012, 11:27 PM
I think I gathered from another thread that you are in highschool? So selling her and buying a new horse isnt as easy since you have to have your parents approval. Have you considered selling her? Maybe put her in training for a month or two and sell her. Or are you wanting to stick it out?

I think it gets to the point where you cant enjoy your horse. You end up dreading to ride.

I was riding a horse a few months ago that was not beginner safe. After a few months training and once his feed was changed (to something with much lower NSCs) he was able to be ridden safely by his beginner owner.

A calming supplement might help too. Maybe you can get someone in the area to ride her for free if you compensate them for gas.

I think there are alot of options you can take. Being nervous around her isnt going to make riding fun.

rodawn
May. 11, 2012, 01:17 AM
What do you do when you feel like you have too much horse? Not necessarily too much in the size department but just...too much.
TIA

When you find yourself lagging to go riding because you dread getting in the saddle. Or you find your confidence is waning. Or when the bucks or explosions or spooks are too much for you to handle without becoming scared. Or the horse has too much power for your level or skill of riding.


It is not a bad thing to admit if one is over-horsed. In fact, it's being intelligent. Everyone's skill level is different and this is okay. Everyone's ability to cope with these things is different, and this is also okay.

If I were your coach and I noticed you feeling this way, I would ask you, "would you like me to train the horse to make him more suitable for you?" (if the horse was a bit green for your level) Or, "are we at the point where perhaps it's time to change horses?". Then we'd have a conversation about it and discuss possible solutions. There is nothing wrong with this.

And never feel bad about it. Don't let anyone ever make you feel bad for considering this is not the right horse for you.


A personality clash between horse and rider never gets better.

A trainability issue can be improved with a good trainer.

A rideability issue (where the horse is difficult to manage due to inherent temperament), is not changeable and will need a skilled rider who can deal with that kind of horse - so sell him.

It is what it is.

I applaud you for being sensible for looking at what the issue may be and considering your options. This makes it better for both YOU and your horse.

Life to too short. Find a horse who makes dressage an exciting, happy challenge - not an intimidating scary or miserable experience.

I just went through all of this with a very good friend of mine. For years, she lagged, trying to work it through and was just not getting anywhere, and thus lost her enjoyment of riding, nearly quit altogether. Finally, she listened to me and picked up a different horse and let's just say her newly found enthusiasm just cannot be beat. All she needed was a different horse.

SillyHorse
May. 11, 2012, 09:34 AM
I just went through all of this with a very good friend of mine. For years, she lagged, trying to work it through and was just not getting anywhere, and thus lost her enjoyment of riding, nearly quit altogether. Finally, she listened to me and picked up a different horse and let's just say her newly found enthusiasm just cannot be beat. All she needed was a different horse.
Rodawn's friend listened to her, and so should the OP. DottieHQ, read rodawn's post carefully, and believe what s/he says. I have been there, and I know that rodawn is right.

leahandpie
May. 11, 2012, 09:47 AM
If you ask the question, I bet you know the answer already. Life is short, horses are plentiful. Ego can ruin both.

Well said! I went through a similar situation with a horse. He was totally a dream horse but we just didn't 'click' when I was on his back. He was beautiful, calm, tall, nice mover... but I found myself frustrated every ride... wanting something 'more'...and he went from being relaxed every ride to tense, balky, and rushy.

I sold him and ended up with a smaller, hotter horse who is "more" horse...but fits me/my riding/my personality so much better. And the tall gelding was bought by a taller rider who fits him better, and just 'gets along' with him better.

Good luck!! And don't feel bad about selling a horse or moving on. She's perfect....but probably for someone else. :cool:

ivy62
May. 11, 2012, 09:58 AM
I have a pasture ornament that I finally gave up riding. He was wonderful for many years while we put him back together..His feet an such but he had a great personality.. Then he got hurt.. Back injury, we tried to rehab several ways but it did not work. The issue was he would bolt from the mounting block. Once you were on he was okay but it was just getting on that was bad. It took me a few years to decide that i didn't like ridng any more. He ground drives and that is fun but I wanted to ride. I got myself an awesome schoolmaster and we clicked... It was wonderful to go to the barn get my horse groom him, tack him up and go and ride and ENJOY it!He was teaching me so much and my daughter was even able to ride him.
We lost him in a pasture accident that has broken our hearts. Trying to replace what you want is not easy once you find it...
Get a new horse and have fun, that is what it is all about..do not feel like you failed. We all buy different shoes. Would you walk in a pair of shoes that hurt just because they looked good!