The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Spinoff - Discouraged with Myself

    I have had my horse for almost three years. He is a wonderful DWB that was a former A/O horse. When I bought him, I was new to the hunters (I came from riding ASBs.) He is kind, beautiful, forgiving, but gigantic. He is 18 hands and it has been a constant challenge for me to keep him "pulled together." I am over forty and probably not blessed with natural talent persay despite the fact that I work my butt off at this sport. I have him with great trainers (actually moved to a new barn not too long ago) who tell me his size makes him hard. I am so frustrated because I am not getting better. I have wonderful trainers (who of course ride him well.) I have worked on the same issues over and over (with these trainers and the old trainers.) New trainers say the horse doesn't help because of size. I know he is big but I should have been able to ride him BY NOW. Do some people never improve or is it just the horse-rider connection? I have had horses my whole life and have never been this ready to thrown in the towel.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
    Posts
    1,068

    Default

    I'm guilty of thinking this way sometimes too, it sucks. Best thing to do for a quick pick me up, borrow another horse and remind yourself that Yes you can ride! and that you can ride well.

    Everyone has their issues that never go away and that have to be worked on every single ride. Be careful to keep track of those issues and how they evolve so that when you get to a low point you have perspective from looking back on how far you have come.

    Some suggestions - what more can you do? Will improving your fitness and strength help? if so develop a program off your horse that will help you.
    Will improving your horse's strength help? Then maybe a lunging program with side reins or something similar will hep him develop the muscles for carriage that you are not getting in your current rides will make it easier for you. Are you not recognising it when you get it because you are being too hard on yourself? Get some eyes on the ground to point out to you every inch of progress you make - even the riders need positive reinforcement to learn

    Ignore the excuses, create a plan and track progress. With purpose and results you will soon feel better.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Out for Lent
    Posts
    34,269

    Default

    hmmmm, you don't say how tall you are, and age got nothing to do with it.

    NOW, remember what made you get this horse (I take it size was not it) and forget about 'pulling'

    Sometimes I think folks that participate in ring oriented sports forget what riding is about. Have you considered doing a 'hunt', getting the horse out where you can have fun and forget about pulling together and all that jazz?

    What do you mean by 'being able to ride him' yes, I admit I am slow tonight, but being able to ride him, what does that mean to you. I am easily pleased, that, too, I have to confess. I am always happy to not being run off with and being able to point the horse into the direction I want to go and actually getting there.

    I know I am of NO help there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,155

    Default

    You shared your age with us, now would you consider divulging your height and weight. 18 hands is a LOT of horse. I know of very few (actually just one) gimormous horse that was easy for a smaller person to package and jump. The rest were very difficult mostly due to size. Can you beg or buy some test rides on some different sized horses, and maybe a large pony too, so you can see how much of the problem is you? I have a large pony that I adore, and last January got a 16.2 hand TB that was an "easy" ride, but it was fully a year before I felt ok on him.

    Other questions...where does your leg end on this guy? Is your leg effective where it is? Can you lengthen and shorten stride on the flat? Can you canter a circle? Are transitions smooth? Can you get some video? Does your trainer have a plan with logical goals and appropriate milestones along the way? It's hard to bail on a horse that sounds so good in other ways. Good luck!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pony4me View Post
    You shared your age with us, now would you consider divulging your height and weight. 18 hands is a LOT of horse. I know of very few (actually just one) gimormous horse that was easy for a smaller person to package and jump. The rest were very difficult mostly due to size. Can you beg or buy some test rides on some different sized horses, and maybe a large pony too, so you can see how much of the problem is you? I have a large pony that I adore, and last January got a 16.2 hand TB that was an "easy" ride, but it was fully a year before I felt ok on him.

    Other questions...where does your leg end on this guy? Is your leg effective where it is? Can you lengthen and shorten stride on the flat? Can you canter a circle? Are transitions smooth? Can you get some video? Does your trainer have a plan with logical goals and appropriate milestones along the way? It's hard to bail on a horse that sounds so good in other ways. Good luck!
    I am 5'8" and weigh around 130. I know I am very hard on myself. Our flatwork is improving as he is finally getting a back end and yes, I can lengthen and shorthen his stride on the flat. Applying it to my jumping is where it all falls apart. Keeping him straight, not bulging, not dragging me downhill to the base. After about 20 tries, I can usually accomplish something but it was the same thing from the day before! I am working without stirrups every ride to strengthen myself as well.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5,553

    Default

    You could try working with a dressage trainer to lighten him up and get him more "together" and off his forehand. It takes two to pull so it could just be something a good dressage trainer could help you accomplish. That's a BIG horse! Good luck!
    PennyG



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2006
    Location
    Clemson, SC
    Posts
    828

    Default

    I'm surprised everyone is relaying this to size. I don't think it's size, yours at least, I think HE is hindering himself by being so massive. He SOO big that it takes more effort for him to engage himself, lets face it - what are the most agile little suckers? Ponies! Generally the tinier the less force it takes to move those legs, less distance b/w hoof and shoulder.

    Being so big I think he's taking advantage of the situation. He knows he can get away with you. I also think you help him with this. You are getting frustrated with yourself and convincing yourself he won't for you. Whereas many trainers know, ride every horse like you've ridden them 100 times. It's how many rank horses will toss trainers b/c they slip and overthink a horse. Once you can approach a horse with that mind set it's easier to figure out WHY he is not responding or WHAT aides you need to use to correct it. You're not relating the problems to a 18 hand monster, you're just riding the "issue" so to speak.

    I'm 5'1" 100 lbs soaking wet, I was given a 18 hand beast to work with for 60 days because his average size owner could not get him to pick up his left lead, collect to fences, and had are hard time bending. It made no difference to him what size I was, but gosh darn when I ask for that left lead the first time ever he picked it up. And every time since. He went home a much more respectful horse, and a bit lighter too

    Of course, this is just all my opinion.

    But I know what it's like to want to give up on a horse. I stuck it out for 5 years with one, and even though I never could show him (b/c he'd never get on a trailer without MASSIVE drugs), and he royally screwed up my hip after one of his numerous bolt/buck/runs, he was my best bud during that time. The other one I gave up after 2 months and sold, best thing I could've done b/c we just never clicked.
    Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
    ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

    *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,290

    Default

    If you've ridden ASBs before, were they more sensitive types? Is your guy a bit "dull" to the aids? Even the best riders in the world have preferences in what types of horses they like-hot, sensitive, calm, whatever!
    Yes, pros can ride everything because they're pros-but they are getting PAID to ride these horses, so they ride the ones that they're not as fond of because it's their job. If this guy is your only horse and you're riding because you love the sport, you should enjoy your partner! I've rehomed/sold horses that were great but just not my type of ride. It's a really hard decision and a bit bruising to the ego but we do all learn a lesson with each horse we own. Sometimes my lesson is what MY limitations are or what my comfort level is. I'm 48 and I find myself not as willing to "suck it up" and stay with a horse if after a fair trial we just aren't meant to be partners. I'd try other horses and see if you are more comfortable and enjoy the sport more on a different type of ride.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Out for Lent
    Posts
    34,269

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jigglipuff View Post
    Our flatwork is improving as he is finally getting a back end
    hmmm, might have something to do with this? The butt is the motor, the center point. Like TKR said, look for a good dressage trainer to get this horse off the forehand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    16,019

    Default Power steering, brakes, collection

    City Ponies' post is the best one you have received so far, IMO. Reread it carefully.

    It's true that is just takes more strength (on the horse's part) when the body is just that big. For a big, kind, "been there done that" kind of horse like yours, it's therefore "easier" to give only as much collection or straightness that the rider really demands. So now the obligation to produce "strength" in your aids gets handed to you.

    It does not have to be this way! You would do well to have a pro install some power features, really, lightness and respect for the aids.

    As instructors always like to say, a horse can feel a fly on his side. He can certainly feel your aids. Your pro needs to teach your horse that he needs to change with your feather-weight aids. He can do it, but might need some strengthening himself and an occasional tune up.

    There's no reason you two can't become a good team. Just remember that your horse has to take some responsibility, too.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 18, 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Just a few words of encouragement ... I'm almost 5'4" and ride horses who are 16.2hh (with a somewhat long back) and 16.3hh (younger, whose taken a few years to figure out where to put her feet!)... I think the horse/rider size thing is proportionate to your situation.

    People who've said that his size is the issue, I think, have a point. *HE* requires being ridden a certain way and pros (of any discipline) are better able to adjust themselves than us older folks, and an A/O? That's an experience horse who may have developed his own preferences over the years.

    My older horse has definite ideas about how to communicate with him. He isn't unkind, he just "doesn't hear" when my weight/position and aids aren't what he's taught to hear. I'm riding with his former FEI competition partner and still, it's taken me years to finally be able to "ride" him--it's just this last year, after 4 prior ones of suffering and tears and loving him to bits but feeling like I'm failing--to collect the canter, regain a regular trot after extension, to ask for and get clean changes where they are supposed to be!

    Please stop being so hard on yourself. Try to take some joy in being with him and pay close attention to the moments (or even single strides) of harmony ... they will come more often as you are able to notice what you ARE doing instead of all the things you're not.

    But yeah ... years, not months, sets the right expectation. If you're not having fun, find him a home that's more suitable. But if you do have fun at least sometimes, lighten up and let it come.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2006
    Posts
    1,919

    Default

    I know how you feel. I recently gave away my 16.1 almost .2 hand gelding because he was too big. I'm only 4'10", and I've got a longer torso anyway, my legs are really short!

    When he would get resistent or throw a tantrum, which was in his nature, it was very difficult for me to ride it through because he was a very wide horse with a large barrell, so I couldn't really wrap around him at all. Our personality clashed as well, but had I felt secure and been able to wrap around him, I may have been able to work it out a bit easier.

    My mares, at 15.2 1/2 and 15.3 but very narrow, are a lot easier for me to work with, and ponies are the easiest for me. Sometimes it is a size thing. As much as I'd like to pretend I'm a GP rider who can ride anything, it's just not the case. So being an ammy, I totally understand where you're coming from!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2005
    Posts
    1,401

    Default

    Riding is fundamentally a mental activity - the power of positive thinking is awesome. So start thinking about what improvements you HAVE made over the last 3 years - focus on the positive first. And then break down the skills that you need to have in order to accomplish your current goal - to put your horse together. That doesn't happen from the two of you pulling against one another - it comes because the horse has been properly developed to the point that he can physically support himself and use his hindquarters effectively and because you have developed a true understanding of the half halt and how to get that done, and the sensitivity necessary to feel when to use the various aides that come into play. Focus on doing exercises with your horse that allow the both of you to develop the requisite component parts of the whole - and do them over and over again, with the intention of getting them exactly right every time. One day you will find that you've successfully put your horse together without making an effort to do that, specifically. And, I'd encourage you to re-evalute after every ride the progress - yes, the progress - that you've made during that ride. Baby steps are ok, and, yes, things with horses are never as easy as they seem to be - it all takes time.

    My trainer says the following (and I share these with you only because they help me when I get frustrated - they keep things in perspective):

    - it's about the journey, not the destination
    - practice doesn't make perfect - perfect practice makes perfect
    - what's the hurry? I learn something new every single day and I've been doing this for more than 30 years

    I also just add that sometimes a horse-rider are not a good match. While I suspect that you are probably just being too hard on yourself, it is possible that this horse is too big for you or just not the right horse for you to learn the skills you need to learn at this particular time in your life. That happens and it is not the end of the world. You wouldn't marry every man you've ever dated, right? There are a few that you've thrown back? Sometimes you go out on a few dates, and then a few more and pretty soon you are in relationship and a few years in you take a good hard look and decide you aren't happy in the relationship, because it simply isn't as fulfilling as it should be, for whatever reason. In this day and age, you can break up or get a divorce - and maybe you'd both be happier afterwards, with the freedom to find a true match. I'm not saying that's what you should do here - but - if you are an amateur and this is your hobby, it should be challenging and FUN. If you aren't having fun, you need to think about your options.
    Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2007
    Posts
    1,413

    Default

    Had something similar since winter. I knew it was me causing my horse to not work right (or at all).

    Solved in on Monday by taking a lesson from someone else on her horse. She fixed my position (which only needed very minor tweaks but it was enough). My trainer arranged the lesson because she felt that she had tried everything and couldn't help me (love my trainer for being so open to other opinions and for being so concerned about me).

    My advice is to try something different. Ride your horse with someone else. Ride someone else's horse with your trainer. Ride someone else's horse with someone else. Try a different saddle. Etc.

    Good luck.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2002
    Location
    FL transplant from IL
    Posts
    7,175

    Default

    Don't be too hard on yourself. That's a lot of horse.

    Do you have the opportunity to ride other horses? Perhaps your horse's way of going just isn't the best fit for you? I know I definitely have my "types" of horses that I love to ride, some are ok & some just aren't enjoyable at all for me.
    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
    Location
    down the road from bar.ka
    Posts
    33,006

    Default

    I think somebody else nailed this a few posts back.

    You are coming from a pull back ride-light touch and no leg-on a brilliant and light moving ASB to a comparatively dull, kick along WB that has to be continually told what to do.

    That's huge. You are not only completely changing how your body is positioned, relearning how to use seat and leg to drive and having to continually reinforce that but the horse is completely different.

    Nothing to do with his size, it's the basic make up of those WBs-and a few TBs- that need to be managed every stride and continually reminded to keep going, stay balanced etc. The Dumb Blood tag is a gross generalization but...some fit it because they just never master doing it on their own.

    Since you are new to jumping and still a little apprehensive, it's just that much more to concentrate on.

    Not the size here but the basic make up of this horse that may not be a match for you. You might like a more responsive, more TB influenced type of WB or a good TB that can work a little more independently.

    Suggest you try riding a few different horses and see how you feel. I suspect this big horse is not that good a match for you but not so much because of actual size. Some of the smaller ones that fit the DB cliche are just as bad.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



Similar Threads

  1. Irrationally Discouraged. What would you do?
    By Foxygrl516 in forum Eventing
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: Mar. 11, 2011, 10:16 AM
  2. So discouraged....
    By Aven in forum Sport Horse Breeding
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Sep. 15, 2010, 03:04 PM
  3. Discouraged...
    By StrawberryFields in forum Eventing
    Replies: 85
    Last Post: Jun. 5, 2010, 03:58 PM
  4. Getting discouraged
    By Retlaalter1 in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Jan. 7, 2010, 10:22 AM
  5. Discouraged! :(
    By Dressurfan in forum Dressage
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: Nov. 16, 2008, 08:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •