Most people who know me have heard me talk about my horse's bucking, so he's not exactly a hot commodity everyone wants to get their hands on. One acquaintance asked if he could bring his girlfriend by the barn so they could borrow some horses for trail riding because he had ridden at camp once and liked it. I am glad he asked because the image of them piaffing around the forest on bewildered Grand Prix horses has made me laugh many times. I told him these horses did not know what a trail was and referred him to a really nice trail riding stable.
I love seeing good riders on my horse, though. Anyone at my stable is welcome to ride him whenever they want because I trust them and most of them are far better riders than I am. I actually wish he was a good horse for beginners because it would be fun to spend some time riding with friends who don't know much about horses, but he can be a drama queen and a schemer and will take advantage of their weaknesses.
Would I go help myself to their golf clubs or show up to swim on a hot day with no invitation?
Not sure how this is a fair comparison. This conversation is not about people showing up and getting on your horse with no invitation. It is about people asking if they can ride your horse. Kind of like if you were not a golfer but wanted to play in a fun tournament so you asked a friend if you could use their clubs for the day (golf used because you brought it up).
Your friend is free to say they are sorry but no you are not allowed to use their item. You are free to say you are sorry but no they are not allowed to ride your horse. It does not have to turn into something about the person asking being a low life scum for not getting how possessive horse people are (and how dangerous it is, etc). Most people think of horses as what they see on TV and movies. The kid who never rode before gets on the horse that scares everyone else and can do anything and then three days later is winning an international competition/race.
Lots of hobbies take lots of work and lots of money. If you ever accepted an invite to a friend's family cottage did you offer to spend the rest of your summer going to the cottage every weekend and just doing stuff like mowing the lawn? Probably not. It probably did not even enter your mind how much time and effort and money that cottage takes.
Clueless people who do not know they are clueless ask stupid question. Either just say no or give them a good explanation. No tantrum needed.
In the case of the OP, if you do not want to just say no then be honest. Tell him that your pony can not carry that much weight. It is not calling someone fat to say your pony is small and that you are pretty much the limit of what he can carry comfortably.
Some horse people are clueless. Non-horse people, even moreso. I have to say, "I" don't think 14.1 is too small for someone to walk around on once. I, too, have used the lunge line method, then let some friends walk around.
If you are not comfortable, say no. The horse may not be suitable for a beginner, you are training the horse and need to keep it in a program, tell them. I don't know what all the hub bub is about when someone asks to ride your horse. They aren't asking to wear your underwear, for pete's sake.
I have a fancy younger mare who I would not put anyone else on, under regular circumstances. She is young, in training and a "program". And honestly, she's MY horse. My 2nd grade instinct kicks in. I have others who are perfectly suitable and have no problem when friends show an interest letting them get on, in a controlled environment.
Funny story, we had a co-worker from Japan come to the US a few years ago. I had little contact with her prior to her coming to my farm. She spoke OK English(or so we thought). We set it up that she could come out to my farm and see the horses. Apparently, she rode and horses are a luxury in Japan and very expensive. No problem. I have an older sweet mare who is perfect, I'd put my grandmother on her. So we were on the lunge, the girl was an OK rider. I let her off the lunge (my boss was there, too, watching).
She walked around my ring, then, trotted. All is well. Then, she starts trying to canter, bouncing all over, speaking in Japanese to the horse (I guess) with a big ass smile on her face. Apparently "YA" means the same in English or Japanese.....
Any other horse would have dumped her on her ass. The horse cantered a few strides, I started yelling "Whoa". Dear horse came to a walk and came to me in the center of the ring "safety zone". The girl had a big ass smile the whole time. I was having a heart attack.
Dear horse became "famous" at our site in Japan and pictures circulated about. The next co-worker who came the following year wanted to ride "Missy". This time, I was preparedm, lunge line stayed on except for a pony ride in the field, with me walking along side.
I can see people not wanting others to ride, but try not to get offended. Some people are genuinely intrigued by horses.
I love that missy is now a celebrity Sorry you had a heart attack but your story did make me smile!
I also think that sometimes as "english" riders we often see the size of horses differently than "western" riders and I also think that this partly has to do with the build of the horse. I use to go to fun shows on my narrow 16.2H TB (i'm a measly 4'10 and a half! and 95lbs) and see these 200lb cowboys on their 14.1-14.3H quarter horses. They would look at us and shake their heads and vice versa. Partly they were very skilled balanced riders which I'm sure helped the ponies out a lot.
Additionally I think build does play a big part, OP has a "small" built 14.1hh pony, I have a 13.3 hand arab that I let a girl who's 5'7- 5'8ish take lessons on. I don't think it's ideal but the arab is big bodied, short canon bones, shorter backed, and the girl is a scrawny teenager. I'd give her 120lbs max. I probably wouldn't make the pony take her on a 50 mile ride but for a w/t lesson that last an hour once a week? no biggie.
When I have the space I think I want a half draft just so I can let anyone ride :P
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.
I did this too! Met my horse's old owner years ago (right after I got her) at a show and was like D: my poor pony...
I've put the wannabes up on my TB (who still had a spook at 27yo) then walked them with me at his head.
If they seemed secure and wanted more I'd send them out on the longe line at the walk.
Still good? Trot some.
That gait usually sorted out the sheepsies from the goatsies.
I've done that before when I had a suitable horse - but he's off working at a therapy barn right now and the rest of my guys just aren't suitable (one is a stallion, one is super spooky, and two are very green). I had people share their horses with me when I was a kid, and I would like to return the favor.
However I have limits. When we lived near my husband's family, I had three nieces that I did share the horses with. But the girls had to help at the barn (from the time they were about 3-4 years old). They 'helped' clean stalls, they cleaned water buckets, they groomed the horse (supervised, of course) and helped me feed. Riding doesn't come free for any of us.
My husband had another sibling who thought it would be fine to drop the kids at the barn while I gave them riding lessons. When I told her it didn't work that way and that the kids would be expected to help with barn chores and would have to come out several visits to help and get comfortable around the horses before they rode, she got mad at us. *shrug*
Sometimes I am sad that I sent the quiet gelding away to do therapy work since that means I have no beginner safe horses. BUT he's doing a good thing and helping kids and adults who need him.
A kind explanation that your horse isn't suitable has been my choice because I distinctly remember telling the boss of a trail riding outfit that I was an intermediate rider because I only had to hold on with one hand on the saddle horn instead of both And both my best friend and I truly believed that! We were, of course, only 9 years old at the time.
I have followed Shakeytails lead and when a coworker asked repeatedly if his 6 yro autisic son could ride my evil, hot ASB I found a picture that pretty accurately displayed that and he stopped asking.
OTH, if my parents' friends had never offered up a ride, this horse crazy kid would have never sat in a saddle and likely would have never bought a horse. Or I would have bought a horse and been completely stupid (as opposed partially stupid).
The Evil Hot Momma has mellowed some & if one of the BO's grandkids wants to ride her when I'm around, they can. She gets lunged quite a bit, topped off, and we stay inside with me at her head. I'm not around that often and most of them have seen her try and take out mailbox when driven down the road, so it doesn't happen often, but the offer is there.
I have a lovely, safe, husband/child/guest horse AND pony that I am happy to put people up on if they ask politely.
I have a selection of helmets, I fit them with a helmet and give them a lunge line/lead line lesson. I taught for many years, so I am very comfortable teaching. What often happens next is that they ask if they can take paid lessons from me, and then I give them the name and number of a friend who runs a good lesson program. I've had co-workers ask me about riding lessons for their kids and the expense, and I'll suggest they bring the kids to my place and I'll give them an introductory lesson or two to see if the kids like it first; that way the parents don't have to commit to buying helmets, riding safe shoes and a lesson package right away.
I emphatically will NOT paying accept students; we are not insured for it, and I do not have a ring. But I'm perfectly happy to do horse safety 101, basic position and basic aids on a linge or lead with someone who expresses genuine interest. Every single person I've done this for, once they realize how much is actually involved, has offered some kind of payment, which I always politely decline. About half have come back with a bottle of wine or other thank you gift later, which I accept graciously.
Three points I emphatically agree on 1.) NO ONE rides my personal horse, NO ONE. If meeting him or watching him doesn't persuade people, I have no problem saying. "No, absolutely not." with no further explanation. 2.) Our sweet, wonderful, tiny (10.2) pony has a hard weight limit - children over 75 pounds may not ride him, period. No further explanation offered. 3.). I have a dear friend who kept telling me about all of his horse experience. One day I got tired of it and handed him a halter and shank and said "Go catch the little bay; I'll go lay out his tack and you can tack up and ride." He backtracked pretty darn quickly, and has never talked about his rodeo experience again. I actually feel bad about this, he's a good guy and a wonderful friend and his stories were harmless. I should have continued to listen to the stories and not embarrassed him.
I do agree, that if you have ONE horse, a personal horse, not suitable for beginners, that you absolutely should shut down any suggestions of people coming to ride immediately with no guilt or worry.
And another, another thing!: No making up excuses about insurance and whatnot.
I think insurance is a pretty valid reason. When I broke my hand riding my own horse, I was asked by my insurance multiple times thru out the process (several dr appts over a few months) who owned the horse, how did it happen, where at, etc... They were definitely looking for another party to recoup costs from if liable.
I could easily see somebody riding my horse, getting hurt & then telling their insurance I am the horse owner. Now their insurance is going to be contacting me, perhaps trying to bill me, etc... Just not something I would want to get into.
Speaking of insurance...how many people that do let others hop on to ride ask if that person has health insurance? Just curious cause that is something I don't chat about with people (hi, how's it going, nice weather, see that ball game, you got health insurance?) so who knows who has insurance or not.
To all the above posters, please refer all the people that want to ride to me.
My mare is NOT broke yet and I'm ready for someone to get on her. I'll take anyone willing to put that foot in the stirrup.
Suckers wanted!! I have a red-headed Storm Cat mare that's developed a nasty spook-wheel-and-bolt habit over her winter vacation. I need someone to ride this attitude out of her—please refer all your ride requests to me ASAP!
"Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive
The liability issue is a very real concern. I have a huge umbrella policy largely because I own a horse, and I do *not* let random people ride him. But, honestly, horses can cause a lot of damage to people and possessions even when they are not being ridden.
For those that let lots of different people on their horses, it would also be a good idea to locate and read the equine liablity statute in your state. Not all of them are the same.
For the person asking if those of us unwilling to let beginners/strangers get on our horses don't own a lunge line: what? Why would I want to lunge my horse so that a beginner can ride him? And, FWIW, that would NOT be safe with my horse. It would probably be safer to just turn them loose!
I do want to clarify that I agree with MVP that it should really be everyone's goal to have their horses ultimately broke enough that the horse can deal with multiple riders of varying skills. I *do* let other people ride my horse, but I don't let random beginners get on him. I only let my riding friends or my trainer on him. If a friend is riding him, I typically only allow it if I am there, but I have had two friends over the years that have ridden him for me while I was out of town.
One of these friends is definitely not a beginner, but was more on the timid side when she rode him the first time when he was a five year old (and she had mostly ridden very made horses). I have to say, seeing her on him highlighted some of his weaknesses for me...things that I just kind of worked around instead of really fixing (actually, at one point, she said, "I can't believe you are able to jump him around courses! I'm afraid to canter him!" lol, he was kind of freight train power trotting away with her and not listening at the time). It was a help to me in his training to see what he would do if I wasn't there holding him together every step of the way. Same friend rode him a year later and was totally blown away by how much easier he had become - she w/t/c and did a lead change.
Anyway, I don't think it is necessarily a good idea to make your horse into a horse that can only be ridden by one person. It's good for them to be ridden by others sometimes. But I think there is a lot of discretion that needs to go into deciding who rides a horse and when. Mine won't ever be ridden by my neighbor's friend's kid that likes horses. He just doesn't have the brain for it.
Growing up we always had the "guest horse" usually a stout QH or for the longest time an over grown Peruvian. Everyone always wanted to ride my lovely Palomino or dad's high dollar cutting horse. Neither of which were appropriate rides for beginners. Usually a quick demonstration of what either of those two could do would deter the folks. We could stick them on the guest horse though and be fine. However even back then we had weight limits and it was either no or lemme see if I can find one for you. For the really hefty beginners we usually grabbed Chief, a 17hh app/shire cross (WORST CROSS EVER!). He was solid for the lunge line beginner and walk trot in the arena. Couldn't trust him with beginners on the trail though. That appy smart/stubborn with shire size could be a real a-hole when he wanted to be.
Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
Originally Posted by alicen:
What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.