If one more person gets on my horse and tries to DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE every step with the seat, or goose her with their leg, I'm going to beat them with a dressage whip. And when they start the death grip on her face because she's promptly responded to their DRIVE DRIVE DRIVING seat, I may just have to yank them off.
She may be four with only six months under saddle, but she damn well knows that when you say GO, she goes. She's not a big, lazy warmblood type - She's a big TB, and while not especially overreactive she does not appreciate you 'yelling' at her with your aids or nagging at her every step. I can ride this baby bareback in a halter and leadrope, w/t/c.
My PSA? Learn to ride without driving at every step, and don't death grip the horse's face because they actually respond to your (inadvertent) aids. If you let go of her face, she'll hack around on the buckle.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
I love this thread! Agree with all points on the problems with so many riders of all disciplines! I will add this thought, though - the statistical sample of horses in question may be affecting your outcome - sounds like you are looking at "quiet" horses for an amateur, and that word is being used to describe dull horses, not quiet ones. It could be your rider, and I do think LOTS of people ride backwards, so could be a mix. However, you are probably seeing the worst of it by looking at "quiet" prospects in a certain price range - therefore increasing your probability of finding the horses allowed to loll along. And there is a market for them - those busy riders need some saintly horse to harass! Maybe expand your search for less "quiet" horses...
Of all the issues that that a horse could have if you're looking for a project or "an older horse that needs some work," I personally think that "forward" is the easiest thing to fix.
One time I audited a clinic with Jane Savoie and one of the riders had a horse who was being a slug and the rider was constantly nagging it. Ms. Savoie had that problem solved in about 2 minutes. I don't even remember what the rest of that clinic was about, (since I audit a ton of clinics and after a while they all start to mesh together), but that has really stuck with me. There isn't a horse in my barn who doesn't know what "forward" means.
I would never be turned off by a lazy horse, since it's usually such an easy fix, and after having some crazy horses in my time, I really appreciate the desire to "whoa."
She taught me the value of just letting go and having fun and teaching young horses early on the concept of forward and new situations.
People think I'm nuts because my 3 yr old leads his 20 yr old balky Arabian trail riding friend over bridges and through rivers.
The real trick is, the first thing he learned is forward and fun. That was the name of the game for quite some time. And we never told him that things like bridges, water, groundpoles, tunnels, *should* be scary.
If your still looking PM me. We might have something that would work, he is young and green and overfaced his current owner (hence the selling), has a couple issues he's still working through but is turning into a solid citizen. We are pretty close to you, and he is pretty cheap.
And honestly, don't hate on the ammy rider who prefers a horse with more whoa than go. I like that my horse takes a bit of leg to go- it makes her easier for me to jump. And I have ridden lazier- and it is easy to get a dull horse moving off your leg. It should be an easy fix for a competent rider.
I don't want my horse that tuned to my leg- I make mistakes 3 strides out from jumps. My leg slips, my seat pushes. I want her to wait for me to insist at times.
If you want a horse with forward that's a project- maybe look at horses advertised as hot or forward or "too much horse". The ones that are nice and responsive off your leg, yet not running off.... are not green or projects in most cases.
Most people just are not that great of riders- it's fine- if you are a good rider, you can quickly improve their horse. I've seen it on mine- better riders rider her and she is lovely. And forward. Thank god she's patient.
There is absolutely no more important skill than forward. This goes for on the ground and undersaddle. Horses that refuse to go forward are a ticking time bomb IMO - the worst will progress to rearing or other similar temper tantrums. A lack of forward indicates not only a lack of enthusiasm for the job, and a difficult-to-train horse, but also frequently lack of a work ethic. Totally agree with you!
I'm not talking about a horse that's "quiet" or even lazy. I'm talking about a horse who has learned that if you throw enough of a fit you don't have to go forward or work.
I know my rider isn't to blame because I haven't let her get on hardly any of them, LOL. When I see how bad they are with the current owner, or with my husband (I'm still in my post-pregnancy grounding period), I generally decline to let my student climb aboard.
I've seen everything from bucking, to rearing, to slamming on the brakes and refusing to move, to wheeling for the gate and standing there. And this is when I've asked the owner to show me something, anything, other than a walk on the buckle. How about just a posting trot? That's apparently a bridge too far . . .
So I'm not talking about a lazy horse, I'm talking about a naughty, badly trained horse whose recalcitrance (sp?) is mistaken for quietness. Believe me I've got no issue with a quiet or even lazy horse for an ammy. But that's a different animal than one that won't go forward. One is a bit of work, the other is flat out dangerous.
Obviously everyone has their personal taste as far as reactiveness in an equine. But truly folks, you want to ensure your horse has a safe landing for the rest of it's life, make sure it goes forward from the leg without question.
There's nothing wrong with the sensible ammy horse that knows that when his rider hits the afterburner 3 strides from the single oxer that it's best to ignore. He's not lazy, he's smart and worth his weight in gold.
I agree with the OP about horses that suck back and then have a canary when you demand that they go forward. "Quiet" doesn't overreact to the leg, but goes calmly. "Dull" or "sour" or poorly trained doesn't go. Quiet is fine, dull (especially when fitted with the "buck if you demand it" lever) is bad.
Last edited by Linny; Nov. 17, 2009 at 08:19 PM.
Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
This thread caught my attention because we have a young warmblood that we bred (momentary insanity) who is just now learning to be quicker off the leg. My daughter isn't riding him yet, and we have a trainer helping us a lot. We use the little cross rails and often times, when the trainer is here riding him, my daughter will ride her steady Eddy pony at the same time and sort of lead the young one into the canter. Not sure if that is a valid way of doing things, but we wanted him to learn to canter without a lot of nagging going on. Seems to have worked, at least for now.
The other thing I thought was interesting was the comment about the rider driving the horse constantly with their leg and seat. We had this experience recently at an eventing clinic.
My young daughter took her older sister's Thoroughbred and I was horrified to see him jump and then gallop off over the horizon time and time again. Daughter wasn't too fazed but was getting tired. So I chased the instuctor down to ask about a stronger bit or something to help. Her very wise answer was he doesn't really need that because the problem wasn't the horse, but rather that dd had come off the pony who needs a lot of seat onto the Thoroughbred who simply doesn't need it. Kind of like going from a push bike to a Ferrari. DD was driving him forward with her seat. Very valuable lesson learned that week!
We saw the instructor at an event the following weekend. DD was riding the pony and was told "this one you DO need to push a bit more." Nice lady.
I think it's a bit of a learning curve when looking at new horses. It takes experience to know which horse needs what. Your student is very lucky to have you helping her.
I have been seriously lucky with the horses I've "trained"-especially the first ones!! When I look back to what I did with less knowledge than I have now I am truly amazed some of it worked out the way it did. I bought my mare when she was a yearling-taught her long lining, lunging, and started her under saddle on my own-mostly through magazine articles. I really had no idea how little I knew and I owe my mare everything because she was so patient and forgiving. But because I had some "success" with her it led me to believe that training horses wasn't so complicated.
Her son, however, was a different story. Luckily by then I was already taking steady lessons with my instructor so I had a professional guiding me. And boy did I need it!! Whereas the mare made everything simple, her baby made everything a challenge. I started him under saddle at the fall of his two year old year and only rode him under my instructor's watch. If he didn't like something, he'd rear. He was rather obstinate so she'd lunge him with me on him so he understood the concept of going forward. I'd ride him with other horses so he'd understand going forward. He started jumping cross country instead of the ring so he understood going forward. Because of my instructor, this horse never learned that rearing or being obstinate was an option. I totally agree with the importance of going forward and having a great trainer/instructor-it is amazing easy to ruin a horse and a lot more complicated to correctly train one.
Havent read all of the replies, BUT being a pro that sells quite a few horses the converse becomes the issue with me. Riders who CANNOT ride a horse that GOES forward. More and more these days the riders (and trainers) ask for a "push" ride. The riders want something DEAD as they are "afraid" of anythign with any impulsion. I had one 5 yr old gelding this summer that was, to me, a bit of a push ride. however, he was repsonsive, just needed leg to continually remind him. Had someone come out, they basically were insecure and the horse took off! As in running around the ring about 8 or 9 times, while rider freaked and clutched with her leg! The horse wans't TRYING to be bad, but the rider just clutched as soon as she felt any impulsion at all! He had never done such a thing before, or after, and he actually look "ashamed" of himself afterwards! When riders begin becomign RIDERS again, and not passengers, then forward going horses will be "in vogue" again. But honestly doubt that will ever happen!