I have a friend who is a lovely person, but knows nothing at all about horses & animals in general, but likes to talk like he is the Authority On All Things. Love him to death, but a lot of times he sounds like an idiot. He thought horses chewed cud like a cow. And that a male mallard duck was a loon. And that dogs have horrible night vision.
Despite being totally ignorant he does have an interest in horses, and has expressed that he would like to ride again sometime (rode a couple times on trail rides as a kid and enjoyed it). So OF COURSE he is now gunning for a chance to ride my pony, and I would be happy to facilitate a pony ride if my dear friend did not weigh 200+ pounds, and my pony was not a narrow 14.1hh. That much unbalanced beginner is just not something I want to put on my pony's back! I have said that pony is "kid size" and not really suitable for a full-size adult rider, but that Dear Friend is more than welcome to come to the barn and hang out with us, learn to groom, etc.
Today he just asked me AGAIN if he could ride the pony. NO YOU CANNOT!! Ugh. I again expressed that pony is "not beginner-friendly" and that Dear Friend would be "too tall" for him. I don't want to come right out and say "You are too fat to ride my horse", but he's just not getting the hint!
Oh non-horsey friends. Love 'em, but they can be infuriating!
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
I hate this. I've had strangers ask if they can come ride. Oh and parents on my DDs softball team hint that they need to bring their kid out to ride. Not asking me, just saying to me they need to bring their kid to ride my horse. Drives me crazy. I usually just say I dint have a horse they can ride. The pony is retired and the others are not easy horses. I have told someone before that they were to heavy for my horse also. Sorry but if they just don't get it you may have to say it. Maybe even explain that they hold 20% of their body weight. My pony weighs 900lbs so just not a good match. Maybe offer to go on a trail ride with him at a trail place even.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I feel your frustration, and I hate to say it but he'll probably never get it.
On a side note out ponies match!!
Similarly mine's actually a horse at 14.3-15hands and I found out when I got her that her past owner was 300ish lbs.. she's stout but we all went people just don't get it that horses are creatures with weight limits not just dirt-bikes.
My experience is, many times you cannot tell a beginner that he/she is a beginner, or that the horse/pony is not beginner friendly... They ALL think they are experts, and that your statement about pony not beginner friendly don't apply to them. In your situation, I would just tell him that, "no, pony doesn't want anyone taller than, say 5'3" (or heavier than 120lb." And since you two appear to be on friendly term, i might add, in a joking manner, that "if you can shrink to 5'3" (or 120lb), come to ride."
I solved that most elegantly I thought. I have a SIL and her SO who have never come right out and said we'd like to ride your pony but they have hinted around, so right around January we were Fb'ing back and forth and I said that I understand the SO really wants to ride, well both my horses are really not in shape right now and the weather is miserable, none of the trail ride places are operating right now but my trainer has an indoor arena and you could ride out of the weather. She has nice lesson horses but I need to know how much each of you weighs in order that she can use one of her stouter horses, or perhaps you'd like to drive a cart as well, it's even more fun.
I'm cheap too so I told them that she would only charge them X dollars.
They told me their weight, both around 240, which was acceptable for a walk only lesson. I personally breathed a sigh of relief once they got in the cart. Height to weight is really obvious once they are on the horse. You can see that there might be some balance issues for a novice.
Anyway, it was a win win. They got to ride in a safe and comfortable environment on well trained horses, my trainer had the experience to say yes or no to the weight as a businessperson and as a businessperson she could yank them off with no argument whatsoever, and apart from my SIL being late, (always late. Really passive aggressive that way) we had a lot of fun.
On the rare occasion this happens to me, I usually just look at the person like he's stupid and say "Um, no". I'll often pull out a picture of my horse at a show- the look of an ASB doing his thing in the show ring is enough for most people to realize my horses aren't pony ride/trail ride horses. I've had people at work politely ask about riding, for them I just explain I don't have any suitable critters.
Depends on how good a friend he is.
If he is a good one worth jumping through hoops for...
Call the local rent a hack, see if they have a horse substantial enough to carry him, ask if they minded (Most do not) if you brought your own horse so you could ride with your friend.
He gets to ride a horse, you are there to keep him out of trouble, your friendship is not strained neither is your pony's back.
Announcing "I'm Offended!" is Basically telling the world that you can not control your own emotions so everyone else should have to do it for you.
I have this problem too! I have a co-worker who routinely tells me when she was 8 she used to ride the wildest palomino in the barn because she was the only one that could "tame" it. It gets really old when people don't understand a polite "no you can't ride my horse, she isn't suitable for beginners".
My mare isn't really a good choice for non horsey people to ride, and I don't want to share her anyways, so we just bought a second horse that hopefully will be our husband safe horse and pack around friends and family on low key trail rides. He's a Haffy, so he'll be able to pack around a slightly larger rider and be lower and slower.
I've had a couple of the grad. students that my husband works with/teaches/mentors either hint that they would like to ride, and one of them came right out and said he wanted to come ride. When they hint at it, I tend to just ignore it. When the student came right out and said, 'I want to come out and ride.' I told him that I would love to let him do that, but that none of my horses are suitable/safe. I train my own horses and they're just starting out and still spook and buck.
(It isn't 100% accurate, but it worked). He looked shocked and then dropped the subject. He does like to pet noses when we host get-togethers at our place. I don't mind taking the students to the barn to pet the horses.
I did once have a situation that boggled me. A guy my husband had gone to high school with that I had met 2-3 times called my DH and asked to speak to me a few years ago. He started with, "I know this is like asking to borrow your kids, but...." and proceeded to tell me that his girlfriend at the time was set to go on the Salt Grass Trail Ride (week long ride around Houston that ends at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo) and her horse came up lame. He wanted to borrow one of my horses for her. To ride for a week. Eek! No.
Neighbor kids used to ask to ride mine. Older mare is super sensitive and some experienced riders have had some issues riding her (like the lovely saddleseat rider who turned to say something to me and ended up sidepassing). Younger mare is a worrier and my dressage horse. I also didn't want to make it a habit as I could see it being a regular thing. They finally did realize I wasn't going to put them on the horses and it didn't hurt the time the youngest boy brought a friend over and were watching me ride. Dressage horsie spooked big time at something and scared both boys. I told neighbor boy that's why I can't let others ride her. Thanks dressage horsie!
I used to try to be polite and explain the whole "My horses are not beginner friendly" thing, but as someone else mentioned, no one ever think they are a beginner! Now I just say no with no further explanation. I have been told that I am selfish and I respond that I surely am. I am not especially warm to the idea of other riders getting on my horses (bad experience) so I am certainly not going to let some "expert" (with one trail ride worth of experience) take them for a spin.
I have let other horse owners, etc. at my barn ride my horse (only in the indoor) IF they are experienced. He's definitely not beginner friendly but I really get a kick out of giving people a Paso Fino experience and he has never misbehaved.
But no, I wouldn't let anyone on him unless they were a GOOD rider.
Armando del Fuego, Best Boy Ever (almost always)
Member of the Not Too Klassy For Boxed Wine Clique
Proud owner of The Roadkill Cafe
I made a mistake of letting my good friend's husband ride once. He started to "cowboy" my horse when the horse started "misbehaving". Horse said "oh heck no" and put the guy right in the dirt. I laughed so hard, and never let anyone do it again.
I've also had multiple coworkers ask if their kids can come out to ride my horses. (!!) You'd let your kids get on a horse owned by someone you barely know through work??? I tell them my horses are young and wild (mostly a lie) and would throw their kids into the ground. None of them asked again.
I also give them this example: "Say you bought a Ferrari. You'd saved your whole life to get one. You dreamed of that day for as long as you can remember. You wash it daily. Get it detailed monthly. Drive it to church. Now enter me and I say: 'Can I come drive your Ferrari?!'"
The usual answer = a quick, sharp, incredulous "He** no! That's MY Ferrari!!!!"
And I smily sweetly and say "Now you get my point." Turn and walk away.
<>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."
I have a few friends with younger kids here and they are constantly bugging me to ride... that's usually when I pull out the more exuberant pictures/video of her Majesty and tell them that they are more than welcome to if they think that they can handle that.
Or I bring them out. 17.1 in a picture looks MUCH different than 17.1 in person. I bring her in when she is especially snorty, to add the fire breathing dragon effect to the picture. Solves that problem pretty quickly.
As for the OP's problem....I love the poster who suggested shrinking! That would be a great way to handle the problem. You get your point across but still remain friendly. Or shell out for a pony ride on a reasonable sized (for his size) horse so he can have the experience...although that might make it worse as he will go from experienced to 'expert'. That happened to my DH but I don't mind that he got bucked off.
"You have two options when training horses, the right way or the fast way." Our Adventures ~ Now on Facebook too!
I have no issue saying no & usually you see it coming, but I got a little blind sided on Easter when a friend's family member I barely know asked to come ride my horse to get her horse fix. I said I am sure the barn program has horses & you can contact them. Person says oh no she just wants to ride & can't she ride mine. Me-no. Then her mother pipes up about what a wonderful rider she was, yadda-yadda-yadda. At this point I am thinking ok I said no once, you are over 35 yo & know what that means so now I am starting to get annoyed when luckily my friend piped in & topic change (she was caught off guard too).
It is awkward cause I can't believe people are so bold to assume you would just want to let them ride your horse OR that it would be free OR that they don't take NO as an answer.
Ugh, I hate this. Like others, I've taken to just saying "no" without any further explanation.
My horse is very difficult and not particularly predictable, and he's not exactly beginner friendly on the ground, either (he has a BIG personality, but is fine with experienced, confident handlers...basically, he is like a stallion, although he is gelded...several vets have asked me when he was cut and implied that possibly he is proud cut).
It's tricky for me when people even want to come out and SEE him. It's like bringing someone to visit my pet dragon. They want to pet him, but that's a terrible idea, he will nip them if given the chance, etc. I've taken to only bringing people out when he is in the pasture, because that way he just stays away from them and they can admire him from a distance...he will come over to the fenceline to see me, but he won't let them touch him.
I did once have an odd sort of opposite experience where one of my co-workers asked me if I wanted to ride his daughters' two horses while they traveled internationally. Neither my co-worker nor his daughters had ever seen me ride, and I didn't even know the daughters. We did have the same trainer, though these two horses were boarded at a different barn. I couldn't do it anyway because of time constraints, but I never did figure out if this all came about through my trainer or not (for some reason, I don't think so). That was really strange. They were leaving the next day or something and were basically going to tell me to just go find these horses I had never met, tack them up, and have at it. If I had taken them up on it, I would have talked to my trainer, and I'm sure it would have been fine...they were both event horses trained by my trainer and I think they were quite nice and well broke. But...just such a strange situation!
At least you guys had the chance and choice to say no!
I was in my room with the window open, and heard girls talking outside, which was strange because we had no girls(or so I thought) in our acreage subdivision. So I look out my window and what did I see..? Three girls. The youngest one of about eight ON my pony, with the two older sisters on either side of him, trying to make him 'go'. And that would be without a saddle or even a halter!!
I think I was fourteen-fifteen at the time, and I flew downstairs and out the door into the pasture so fast it was like I teleported lol!
I freaked out on the girls, pulled thier little sister off and told them to get the h*ll away from my pony!!
After I calmed down, I told them, that no, it isn't ok to just come and ride other peoples ponies without permission lol.
I still see them every blue moon some fifteen years later, and they always ask: remember when..?? Oh yeah I remember!! Apparently I scared them, bad.