OP, if he trips regularly, I would not ride him. A one-time thing where he went to his knees - I might excuse that if it was crappy footing. I had a pony stumble and go onto his knees because the footing was deep and he got caught up in it. But repeated tripping would be an issue for me.
With that being said, I have permanent damage to my right arm as a result of a pony tripping and falling and my getting stepped on when I fell under her, so I am a little more cautious about that than some people.
If the footing is the reason for the tripping, then riding at the barn period should be in question.
I have seen horses loose focus and stumble a little behind, or horses that trip when they get on their forehand...but those AREN'T for nervous BEGINNERS. A beginner horse should be able to look after itself regardless of its rider.
To follow up with some questions...
Narisco- he was on the correct lead and don't worry I didn't take it the wrong way, you have no idea what kind of rider I am and it's a legitimate question. In fact, I was thinking "what a nice canter he's got going" shortly before he tripped. He was cantering to his weaker side.
CHT- the farm has beautiful footing, so that is not a concern. I really can't say enough good things about the farm and this trainer. She's lovely.
I'm not a beginner, but I have had a long hiatus from riding and me being out of balance is surely a possibility. Or maybe it has nothing to do with me.
I don't think I am a fearful rider at this point. But I do think I have a healthy dose of self preservation.
I am going to sound harsh, but if the trainer/instructorput you on this horse after it trips several lessons in a row, I would change barns. No horse wants to go down on its knees, or even trip harshly on a regular basis. Horse is not safe and trainer should be investigating why horse is tripping so much. If said horse needs an experienced rider to keep him forward and on his feet, he is not appropriate for re-rider to start on.
i wouldn't speculate as to the cause of horse tripping but not moving forward seems a reasonable cause however. OP should have a frank discussion about about the horse stumbling / tripping and see what happens from there. For the OP I personally hate it when a horse stumbles or trips, my old barn we used to ride in one of the fields alot and when it was really dry seems like several of the horses would trip it takes a while after a good stumble to get your trust back.
Agree, a conversation about this horse is in order.
No horse wants to trip and fall down. I know accidents happen and perfectly healthy horses (and humans) can trip.... but if it has happened a few times it's something that needs to be investigated.
I have had a few older horses when they started tripping I had the vet out; one had arthritis in his left knee and the other had ringbone and navicular. I stopped riding them. It wasn't fair to them OR my family.
"Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood" ~ GM
I heard an old saying (maybe Chinese?) which goes: something that happens once will never happen again. Something that happens twice will always happen a third time.
Regardless of the reason for the tripping, I would not continue riding this horse. If he's tripping because of you, then you need to ride another horse who will not trip while you're working on whatever contributed to tripping. If it's him, then best to stop riding him while the owner figures out how to solve his problem.
It seems like there are two separate issues here:
1. Why is the horse tripping so much? The other posters have very good suggestions.
2. Anxiety loop due to entirely-reasonable fear of injuries caused by falling.
Re the 2nd issue: Perhaps you would feel safer and thus have less anxiety if you rode in a protective "eventing" vest? I don't jump and I wear an eventing vest (and helmet, of course) when I ride. I don't bounce like I did when I was sixteen. I am by no means an expert. Just my two cents' worth.
My guy started tipping a lot in the arena in nice footing. He went down to his knees at the trot once. This happened over a 2 week span. Come to find out my saddle didn't fit him well and he was very back sore. New custom saddle for him and no more tripping all the time. That said he does trip once in a while on the trails. Mainly because he is a lazy sort and if he isn't paying attention he will trip over a root or something because he doesn't pick his feet up.
My other horse started tripping a lot, never went down but came dang near close a few times. Couldn't figure it out. No issues we could find body wise. Took him to the university for possible hock issues and it was epm. That's why he was tipping also was the epm
Also a qtr horse type or paint type that are built more downhill and stocky will trip easily if you let them get on their forehand and bulldoze around. They won't pick their feet up well and can trip for that reason. As well as neck issues can make them trip. I would be concerned and truthfully wouldn't want to ride the horse if this was a regular occurrence for you and him. Maybe he doesn't do it with others because they can rock him back some so he is lifting a bit in front and you just are not there yet in you riding. If that's the case I still believe you should be on a horse that you don't have to worry about this.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole