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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2004
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    1,076

    Unhappy I'm so tired of riding thru it...

    I love my horse.. but he has a rotten attitude and I'm starting to wonder if it is worth it anymore. I have had him for almost 4 years now and have tried to go with the flow because when he is good, I really love him and love to ride him. But now every time I go to ride, I'm starting to think, do I really want to do this anymore? He is cranky tacking up, he has a nasty habit of taking one step away from the mounting block only when I start to get a foot in the stirrup. He is cranky getting going... stops, backs etc. A stick makes him kick out, been working with spurs and he is moving forward.. but at will again buck a bit. The first 15 min of riding is just so hard. On Saturday I had a lesson and I was so frustrated I almost cried. It was terrible, including my trainer getting on him and him trying to buck with her. I have had him checked all over physically, Saddle fitting etc. Over the past two years he has been injected and supplemented and generally physically worked up every way I can think of. I have tried full training months etc. It has been just creeping up to worse and worse behavior. I am not the best rider, but I have ridden thru all of this, I aways end up making him do what I want, every ride. Why does he not get better? I have tried so many things over the past couple of years. I'm starting to think I am just not a rider.. I can hardly stand this anymore. I used to cut work and do whatever I needed to get out to ride 6 days a week.... now I'm pushing myself to get out reasonably regularly (3-5 times a week). I have failed him miserably.. and myself because I am not loving riding as I have for the last decade or more. Any help or suggestions? I'm so depressed right now.
    Horsemanship and the partnership, learn it, talk it, admire it, pass it on!
    "The Pony" Theodore O'Connor 1995-2008



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Posts
    2,058

    Default

    "a stick makes him kick out"

    Sounds to me like he needs swatted harder for kicking out. If you have ruled out physical probs including ulcers, dental and on and on, not just saddle fit and back, I would think you have a defiant horse who is pulling stunts because he knows he can get away with it. Did he settle down after the trainer (hopefully) gave him a recalibration for bucking?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2007
    Posts
    293

    Default

    Yes. I went through the very same thing that you are going through.. it is terrible, for your esteem/feelings, etc. and the horse, his attitde and behaviors. i gave him away to someone who has a very good match with my geldings, but still has the issues, he came with the issues, but they are not so noticable with the new rider and a warmer climate. i have a free lease off of the coth board and am having the time of my life riding. You just have to find the right partner and friend just like real life friends.You have done all of the ig steps for health checks, saddle fits, and training. If it noworking an u lo ridi try riding another horse for a while-lease, lesson, a friends, and see if your spark comes back with another animal. Us riders forget that it has to be a good match with your horse to truly enjoy it. i am not saying to throw one horse away for another, but if you and your horse have not been enjoying each other for 4 years, that is a long time to have worked it out.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2004
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    1,076

    Default

    He has been swatted and swatted.. but it never seems to get better. He does better with trainers riding him, it seems to be me.. he can definately tell when I'm riding him vs the trainers. I have even had one time I just got my head on hard and just whacked him till he stopped with the BS.. riding thru the bucking and snarking. Next day,we did it again. He does not seem to be working hard at getting me off..but it is just so stressful. He never seems to give up.
    Horsemanship and the partnership, learn it, talk it, admire it, pass it on!
    "The Pony" Theodore O'Connor 1995-2008



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
    Location
    Windsor SC till Aug
    Posts
    1,410

    Default

    A trainer once told me this and its helped me greatly.

    A horse/rider combo is NOT a marriage. "Divorce" is an option you should not feel guilty about.

    That being said. If you've given this horse 4yrs and no improvement, its time to move on. You are not doing your horse any favors by keeping at it. He obviously is not happy either. Sometimes they have other ideas of what they wish to do with their lives, we cant persuade them otherwise. All we can do is send them on their way and hope they find what they are looking for.

    My first horse, i HATED for the first year. I fought him tooth and nail, usually coming in balling at how much i hated riding and never wanted to get on a horse again... After a year of that, FINALLY we both woke up one morning and decided to enjoy eachother. I have no idea how it happened or what made it click... But the next four years he placed in the top 5 in every class we entered, i would dismount with a smile after every ride, he was truely the horse of my dreams... Year 5, i had to put him down.

    Since then, i have had 32 horses/ponies trying to find the right one to replace him. Thought i had found it a few times, gave those animals a year or more for us to figure eachother out... Only for things to go sour and end up in a situation like yours... Hating riding and ready to give up.

    I just decided to not be so emotional about it. If it didnt work, it didnt work, i would send them on their way. They all found SUPER homes where they did work. And 2yrs ago, i FINALLY found the pony that i 100% click with.

    Is every ride perfect? Heck no! Does she make me want to kill her sometimes? YEP! But i could not live without her. I've decided we both have the same personality and thus, get along perfectly.

    So my advice... Cut your losses and try try again. Take all those valuable lessons, even if they were only to learn how to sit out a bratty horse... Find a horse that makes you happy. They cost us way too much to care for to make us miserable. We provide them with love, care, pastures to roam in, etc and for 22-23hrs a day they do nothing but exist and make themselves happy... If they cant make us happy for 1-2hrs a day, why own them?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005
    Posts
    3,788

    Default

    The "my pretty pony" crowd doesn't like to hear it, but some horses are just assholes.

    And there are horses, who in spite of miserable riders who make no attempt to improve themselves whatsoever, don't try to put this sort of crap over on their riders.

    Get yourself a few rides on a horse who thinks it's not beneith him to accomodate the human a little bit (or better yet, a lot) and then decide if you are "not a rider". You might find you can enjoy riding again, just maybe not on THIS horse.

    If you've given this horse every chance possible and he's still refusing to get with the program and act like he's not a moron, then it isn't YOU who's failed HIM. You don't owe him the privilege of continuing to be a dork at your expense.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2007
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
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    5,242

    Default

    How often do you hack out or go for a good trail ride?

    He sounds really sour, if you have been able to rule out pain.

    I make a point to get them out of the ring often, and if they are acting sour I will get them out every day, either before or after our arena work.

    Some times you need to make the rides fun for them. When was the last time you took him out and just played?

    I find ground work, work over poles, any thing to break up the routine and make it enjoyable for the horse.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    775

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    I've had many horses over my lifetime and only sold one! The rest were lifers, we got along just great so I know it isn't me. The one I sold wasn't so beligerent as yours but we didn't see eye to eye. I sold him as a field hunter and he was much happier and so was I, with my new horse. I agree with buttlerfamilyzoo, sometimes it just doesn't work. Don't look at it as failure but just not sharing the same views. Do yourself and your horse a favor and go your separate ways. You will both be much happier.
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2001
    Location
    over yonder
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    2,931

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
    A trainer once told me this and its helped me greatly.

    A horse/rider combo is NOT a marriage. "Divorce" is an option you should not feel guilty about.

    That being said. If you've given this horse 4yrs and no improvement, its time to move on. You are not doing your horse any favors by keeping at it.
    I agree with the above.

    This sport takes too much time and money for anyone to be miserable doing it. Remember, if you are an amature, it is supposed to be FUN!
    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
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    2,627

    Default Hay

    And don't pressure yourself so much. This is a hobby/sport, not a board meeting at the office.

    If you can't sell the horse right away or free lease him, just let him sit. It doesn't matter. As long as he's cared for. Give yourself a break.

    Also, another suggestion is to try another discipline on another horse altogether. Trail riding or reining or cow sorting.

    I had an old TB mare that when I was younger I could do anything with; hunter pace, trail ride, show hunters and even some low end jumpers. But as I got older, rode less because I was out of college and working. She became too much for me. I got scared of riding, scared of her. While I kept her as we have a farm and we did recently put her down at 33. I did get another horse. A total mush of a TB/QH/Perch cross. You need a mush!
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
    One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
    Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
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    2,058

    Default

    Sometimes you can work through these things and sometimes not. Like my idol Mary Twelveponies says, sometimes the solution is to pull the horse's shoes and nail them on another horse.

    I had a miserable time with Sadie when I first got her, she balked, she ran away, she dropped a shoulder and spun, she got light in front to the point of both fronts leaving the ground, although never a high rear, thank God; she kicked out when swatted, she kicked me and so on. She did the cute evasion when being mounted, too. Didnt feel I could sell her with her verging on dangerous and tried various things, some of which worked better than others. Lots of ground work, a little Ttouch, then finally some clicker training to improve her ear-pinned approach to work and life. The latter really, really helped the two of us bond.

    After about six months of fighting, with every single ride being a wreck looking for a place to happen, it all fell into place. She was being ridden 3-4 times a week, mostly trail rides. I had no trainer, and I'm not one.

    She's a good girl now, in fact she's so good and so safe and reassuring that she packs around total novices and people who are afraid to ride.

    I dont think I wouldve put up with her BS for 4 years without improvement, however. I concur with those who say its not a marriage, and would add that "love" for a horse who could hurt you is more masochism.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    775

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pines4equines View Post
    You need a mush!
    Mush is good.
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2004
    Posts
    1,076

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    Yes.. I know about the match, but I am just not sure I can find one anymore. Our first year I just loved him and had such fun riding him and working on us both. The second year he had a training issue (lost his left lead canter).. and after all the physical fixes were tried, I got more training and it fixed that and again, I loved riding him. The third year this issue of sour/crabby started to happen and I got training rides on him and then I really loved riding him and we really moved forward. This last year he is just crabby all the time and I am tired. I feel that this is my problem, not so much his. I can do some more full training, but it just keeps coming back. I wonder if I should just turn him out to pasture board somewhere and not ride him for a year and then bring him back and see. He is so fun and wonderful when he is good. I don't know that selling him would be right because it started out so good, so how would I ever tell with another horse. I can't trust myself as a rider now..

    Not that it makes alot of difference, but I'm already supporting a retired 33 yr old and 3 horses would definitely break the bank.. not even something I can contemplate.
    Horsemanship and the partnership, learn it, talk it, admire it, pass it on!
    "The Pony" Theodore O'Connor 1995-2008



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    775

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hidden View Post
    Yes.. I know about the match, but I am just not sure I can find one anymore. Our first year I just loved him and had such fun riding him and working on us both. The second year he had a training issue (lost his left lead canter).. and after all the physical fixes were tried, I got more training and it fixed that and again, I loved riding him. The third year this issue of sour/crabby started to happen and I got training rides on him and then I really loved riding him and we really moved forward. This last year he is just crabby all the time and I am tired. I feel that this is my problem, not so much his. I can do some more full training, but it just keeps coming back. I wonder if I should just turn him out to pasture board somewhere and not ride him for a year and then bring him back and see. He is so fun and wonderful when he is good. I don't know that selling him would be right because it started out so good, so how would I ever tell with another horse. I can't trust myself as a rider now..
    Its your problem in that you have to be the one to do something about it, he's already told you every way he can; he hate's his job.
    Trust me, there are lots of sweet willing horses out there who have a good work ethic and would be happy to be your horse. Your horse now wants a career change, let him have it. He's not happy and neither are you.
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
    Posts
    2,627

    Default Hay

    Hidden: How old are you? You know what I noticed about myself, as I got older, I rode worse and worse! My legs wouldn't go where they were supposed to and that made me scared. When I was young, I was very good. I actually went to Lake Erie College and was a level 4, at that time the instructors were 6s. So I was pretty good but again as I got older, things just didn't work as well. I too would beat myself up, I can't ride this, I can't do that...I look terrible, my butt is big, etc., etc.

    So, I literally gave up. But you know what, so what! I trail ride. Maybe I do some light dressage here and there by myself but I really just load the "mush" up on the trailer and go out anywhere. We poke along at the walk and maybe a little trot here and there but that's it and you know, I'm having more fun then ever. Even bought a big ol' western saddle...I know horrors! Just kidding, I actually love it and want to do a little cow sorting one of these days.

    There is nothing wrong with turning this horse out for a year on pasture board. Everyone always seems to think they are doing their horse a disservice but he might actually LOVE it and excel at it.

    Good luck!
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
    One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
    Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook



  16. #16

    Default

    Bottom line is not all horses and their owner get along. Not all owners can handle their horse. Theres no shame in any of it if the horse and you don't click get rid of him and find one of the millions in the country that will. Riding, owning horses is supposed to be fun if its not and you still want to do it find one that is.
    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
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    Behind the Orange Curtain
    Posts
    9,694

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hidden View Post
    He has been swatted and swatted.. but it never seems to get better. He does better with trainers riding him, it seems to be me.. he can definately tell when I'm riding him vs the trainers. I have even had one time I just got my head on hard and just whacked him till he stopped with the BS.. riding thru the bucking and snarking. Next day,we did it again. He does not seem to be working hard at getting me off..but it is just so stressful. He never seems to give up.
    So get a trainer to ride him for a while, figure out how he goes best, and then teach you how to do it that way.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Location
    Western South Dakota
    Posts
    2,466

    Default

    As many posters have already said, not all horses are wonderful. Some are really "just not nice". Many are great until the level of work gets harder.

    You sound to me like a capable rider on an inappropriate horse. It isn't a crime to accept that this horse and you aren't a good combo. There are many many nice, capable horses out there with a forgiving attitude AND a good work ethic. Make the change happen and get back to enjoying riding.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    930

    Default

    I have a similar relationship with my horse.

    This past year we have changed his work routine completely and he is responding really well to it.

    Prior to the change every ride was a battle and I rode expecting it. It was not a positive experience for either myself or Sport.

    This past year, working with an excellent trainer we have taken him back to square one and let him excell. He got praise, I felt good as we didn't end up fighting and lately I find that I truly want to ride and amazingly enough can fit into my schedule. When he was bad, I always seemed to have something else to do that didn't include riding.

    The trainer rides him twice a week and her goal has been to give him a work ethic as she puts it. She has not been asking a lot of him, just that he goes forward and straight in the bridle and works for the time that he is out. Recently she has started asking more of him and he is still responding well.

    What helped me was reading the book The Winning Feeling. It helped me a lot with the mental component of riding. I realized that I expected Sport to be bad and he was happy to fulfill my prophecy. Once I started to expect him to be good and rewarded good behaviour, then I got good behaviour.

    Do I think Sport will ever be an easy ride? NO, but I know that I love this horse and we have found a way to make his and my life enjoyable. I hope I am not jinxing myself here.

    Negative is always easy to see, but try to find positives in each ride, I find it really helps my mind set. Somedays the positives can be really simple things.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2000
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,497

    Default

    Saddle, saddle, saddle. I can't say it enough. You mention that your horse is cranky tacking up, moves off the block, bucks...your saddle doesn't work for your horse. Now some behaviors a grown, but this is what I would change.

    Just to give an example. My horse who has one of the best saddles out there, started to become cranky in the ties, and undersaddle. I really took a look at the fit, and started riding in other peoples saddles. Some gave a bigger reaction then mine, then I hit upon one that gave me no reaction. I rode in if for a week. By the end of the week I had a happy horse again. I measured my horses back and sent my saddle to be adjusted.

    The people told me that according to my horses measurments he should be ok. The horse was telling me no. I had the head widened a full centimeter and the flocking softened. My horse is back to being the perfect guy I purchased.

    Your horse is telling you something is not right. Good luck.



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