Have you ever quit riding, even for a little while, because of being afraid of your horse?
I want to.
My sister got this pony years ago and used to ride her and show her, I didn't ride at the time. I didn't want to ride back then, my sister used to have me get on the pony sometimes because she was sure I would fall in love with her, but mostly she just banged my knee against the indoor arena wall
My sister is no longer with us and last year my mom asked if I wanted to start riding lessons, since we were going to be moving out of Mahattan to a farm with our horses there, and it would be fun if I learned to ride too. I thought it would be fun and took lessons at the barn but not on the pony, on a different horse for a while. I had a lot of fun.
Until I started to ride her. She still tries to bang my knee on the wall or the fence, if there is grass she pulls the reins out of my hands constantly, she bites when I saddle her and she never stands still when I get on. I'm not blaming her, I understand these are things that ponies do, but they scare me. I hate going home with bruises, I hate getting bit and I'm afraid she's going to pull me off when she eats grass. Long story short, we moved again-to Virginia- and board a boarding barn again where I can take lessons.
Other girls at the barn ride her without problems. They have been riding longer than me, even though some are younger. The barn trainer wants me to work with one girl during the summer to get me so I can ride the pony off the lunge line (I haven't ridden her by myself since last year). I have taken some lessons on the school horses and I have so much fun, there is one I can even canter by myself and go over ground poles. When I ask to ride him my trainer says that he is for the little kids to ride and that I should want to ride my own horse. So I guess I don't get to ride him anymore.
I even like riding my mom's QH, but of course we can't ride him at the same time. I've asked before what if I ride him and we sell pony and get another QH. My mom will just laugh and say that some kids would die to have my pony.
I asked if we could lend pony to a girl who needs a horse to ride, I haven't talked to her yet, but left her mom a message on here but haven't heard back, my mom did like that idea, but I am still waiting to hear.
I have a lesson on pony tomorrow and I feel like crying and my stomach hurts every time I think about it. Am I just being a brat? I love to ride, but I feel like it would be easier to quit and find something else to do. The only friends I have here in VA are at the barn, the rest of my friends are still in NYC and I only get to see them on Skype. If I quit, I don't know if they'll still invite me to do things anymore. I feel so guilty and sad for wanting to quit, but I don't know what else to do.
Last edited by Tribeca; May. 19, 2013 at 08:32 PM.
If that is the whole story, I would say someone is not listening and needs to get you your own horse/pony you enjoy, not have to ride one you are afraid of.
I can't believe any instructor would not see your own pony is not suitable for you and do something about that.
Many more ponies than horses seem not to be suitable for plenty of kids, you may be right that a regular horse may teach you much more while you have fun all along, something you don't seem to have with the pony.
Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, keep squeaking.
Sounds like you are not ready for this pony. She takes advantage of you because you do not yet know how to handle her. Others can ride her because they have been riding and know how to deal with her antics. I can't believe a trainer will not let you ride (if your paying to ride) a horse you are comfortable on until you have more tools and training under your belt. I don't think your being a brat, I think you are scared and rightfully so. I do believe this is why some kids decide to stop riding because they are over mounted and it's not fun anymore for them. Riding should be fun, you should want to go get on your horse not be scared of it. I'd have a real heart to heart with mom and trainer. Show them this post, tell them you don't have the confidence to ride this pony yet and it's making you consider quitting all together. Let them know you want to have fun but you can't have fun when your scared for your life. Truthfully it sounds like this pony has your number and that is not good for anybody.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
Show your mom what you wrote. If the pony makes you that miserable to ride, he needs a new home and you need to ride different horses or, if you'd like, get a new hobby. I am so sorry for your family's loss but it's okay for you not to like your sister's pony, not to enjoy her hobby as she did. It is your life to lead and you shouldn't be riding if it makes you unhappy, that does no tribute to anyone.
I totally agree with Zuzu - riding CAN be so much fun on the right horse and just a misery on the wrong one, for whatever reason!
I was scared of my own horse after I fell off (as an adult).I found myself prefering to sort socks rather than ride! I was so, so glad we got a wonderful confidence builder so riding became fun again,and I looked forward to it.
You don't need to learn to "master" this pony - I hope your mom and instructor get you/let you ride a horse you think is fun, that makes you feel confident, so you enjoy riding. We don't all love riding the same kind of horse and there is no shame in saying "I am not having fun on that one". I am sorry about your sister, and I agree that continuing to ride her pony that gives you no joy at all is not a tribute. That other lesson horse sounds ideal.
Your sister...I'm very sorry. Perhaps your parents are sentimental about the pony? You are in a tough spot. If you don't want to hit this head on, why not speak with your trainer before your lesson and get it off your chest. Perhaps they can help and your parents will listen to the trainer say that she'd like to start you on a different mount until you gain more confidence.
As a mom, my heart aches thinking about the pony that once belonged to a child that has passed. I'm curious if you feel an obligation yourself, to love the pony the way your sister did? I'm also curious if your family is struggling with the dynamics of it. When my step brother died, his car sat in the driveway for 6 years...it can be so painful to let go of belongings, let alone a horse. But you sound so honest and intelligent. I hope you can share this with your parents and can work through it. Riding the right horse makes all of the difference in the world.
Well, i have seen some bratty ponies turn fearful riders into GREAT riders. every now and then you might hear a story like that. Someone will say how much better a rider they are, b/c they had a bratty pony or horse to teach them how to stay on, balance, and get thru their fears.
Then on the other hand, if FEAR is so strong, you should not be riding the pony YET. If other as the barn have no problems with the pony, maybe ask them what they are doing and see if they can help you learn to be more assertive with the pony. but if you feel you are not ready, then tell mom you are just not ready for pony yet. Good Luck!
I agree with the fact that you need to communicate this to mom and coach. You put it very clearly, and sussinctly here - so just print this if you feel you can't say the words aloud without getting upset.
Some people do well with bratty ponies - I have one myself. Not everyone does though. I learned to ride for the first 8 years or so on horses where the brattyest thing we had was an arab hony that had a bit of a spook. It gave me great basics without the fear.
Just pushing through a bit of fear is a great thing to learn how to do - but on the otherhand if it's outright terror you won't be able to push through it all at once. You need the experience with other horses/ponies that are an easier ride before you tackle your guy.
Also - you should try to ride with a plan as to the things you need to lear to be able to ride your pony better. You should be learning to steer with your legs - as much as possible and independently of eachother - that will help keep your outside leg off the walls (a great excersize for this is to ride as much as possible about 2-3; to the inside of the "track" along the wall).
As for the grass thing - if you do decide it's worth it to push through the fear, see if you can get some sort of anti-grazing device (sometimes known as grass reins or an overcheck) that will not hinder his motion unless he goes to stop and eat. If you go this route, have someone knowledgeable adust it for you and possibly put on the first ride or two with the new gear to be sure he's safe for you with it on.
Well, you've been bitten with the horse bug so there's no turning back now (just kidding!)
But in all seriousness, riding should be fun not scary. Don't be afraid to tell your instructor and your mom that you're scared of the pony. There's no shame in that, and I've done it myself many times. In fact, it's helpful because knowing when you've reached the limits of the zone outside your comfort zone can keep you from ruining the confidence you're trying to build. You can always go back to him when you're ready, there's no rush.
If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
If I smell like manure, I tripped.
Well, heck - after I fell off my horse, I rode the schoolie that the little kids ride and I bet I'm decades older than you are!
Not ashamed to admit it, either. I was following the advice of Denny Emerson, who nobody would say lacks nerve. After his accident, he said the key to riding is to first build your nerve on a nice quiet trustworthy horse.
After six months of riding the schoolie - my horse didn't seem scary at all anymore. That may be your experience, or it may not. I think your idea about loaning out the pony is a good one. That way, pony will get ridden and your parents won't feel like they got rid of your sister's pony.
I lost my sister, too. It's the worst thing that ever happened to me, so I imagine I can understand how you might be feeling. But horses will help you through it! Horses are so good at keeping us in the moment, so we don't think about sadness. But it's no good if the horse only increases your stress and dark thoughts! I hope you keep riding, but on a horse you like and who likes you.
Tribeca - I am so sorry for the loss of your sister and that you are not enjoying your time with your pony.
Years ago, a friend owed me some money and gave me his Morgan gelding as payment (didn't really want the horse but that's a whole different story). I was terrified of the horse. He was mean, he would run up to try and bite you in the pasture. No one at the barn liked him, he was a jerk.
I had no idea what to do with him and certainly wasn't going to ride him if I couldn't trust him on the ground. So, I just started doing groundwork with him but started and ended every session with at least an hour of grooming and just loving him up.
I would spend afternoons just leading him around and getting him to respond to my voice commands, I would lunge him, I just spent time with him.
Within 6 months I was happily riding a beautiful horse, inside and out. I think he never had 'somebody' and learned to trust me. Of all the horses that I sold he is the one that I regret letting go, wish I still had him...
At the time I was 22 and I accepted advice from everyone at the barn. One girl who was a wealth of information was a 13 year old girl... so don't worry if younger people have more experience or knowledge than you.
But most importantly, have a long talk with your parents and tell then what is going on with you....let them know how you feel and how a passion is turning into a fear. Best of luck.
I'm so sorry you feel this way! Riding should be fun and it should be a way for you to relieve stress, not add more!
We own a bratty pony. He was fine for my son to walk around on, but when he wanted to trot all h*ll broke lose. The pony was fine for others, so it made a bad situation even worse since it was obviously the rider. We ended up "trading" ponies for 6 months. My son got a sweet, quiet schoolmaster and the other child got a pretty fancy small to jump around. My son learned to canter like a mad man and basically got his nerve back. At the end of the 6 months he hopped on his pony and rode the hair off him. He really needed that time away to learn to be a better rider and to gain confidance. Not saying the pony didn't still pull stuff, but he knew how to deal with it. They cleaned up at shows and had the best time ever for 2 years and now his sister is the one riding it. Unfortunately for the pony, he's met someone as bratty as him and they are getting along like crazy!!! And my son, the one who "couldn't ride?" He's jumping over 3', doing clinics with big name riders, winning at shows, and preparing for his first recognized beginner novice horse trial and he will be the FIRST one to tell you that that stinky little pony is a big reason why he is the rider he is today!
So, my advice is to see if maybe you can "trade" or just lease out and ride another pony for 6-12 months and then come back to this one armed with new skills. I also think you need to print out your post and sit down with your Mom. Maybe she isn't understanding exactly how you are feeling. I really hope it works out and that you can find your own place in your new home. And remember, just because your sister loved this pony doesn't mean that you have to. Different types of horses appeal to different types of people and that isn't bad or good, it's just reality. Good luck talking to your Mom and instructor you sound like a wonderful person that anyone would be lucky to know!
I agree this is probably much more complicated and emotional for your mom because of your sister. And for you. I'm so sorry!
Riding should be fun. You don't need to get rid of the pony. I expect the pony means a lot to your family. But I hope you can get fun rides on another horse.
Some people do enjoy learning to ride bratty ponies and learning to fix things. If you wanted to fix the pony, I'm sure your trainer could help you with that so the pony isn't taking advantage of you. But that's something you either want to learn, or not. Or maybe not right now. I think it's more important that you enjoy riding, and being with the horses and your friends at the barn.
Talk to your mom. Hopefully it gets better from here.
Try talking to the trainer. Hopefully, the trainer will understand and talk to your mother. Sometimes people listen better to adults than children.
I don't have kids, so maybe I don't understand, but as a teacher I am always amazed at how indifferent parents are to their children's needs. I've intervened several times on a student's behalf and sometimes I've been able to get the parent to understand their child's viewpoint.