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Why do people over estimate their riding ability?

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  • Why do people over estimate their riding ability?

    Just got a phone call from someone wanted to lease our hunter/ex-chaser. He's advertised for an advanced rider for hunting or show jumping.

    She's says she's advanced, but a little rusty. I asked her if she hunted. "Oh, yes", she says. I asked her what height fence she was comfortable with, she says "fence"? Jumping height, I say. She says that, no she doesn't jump, just wants to ride "English".

    I tell her about the horse, that he's a point and shoot jumper, not a flat equitation horse and that he's an ex-steeple chaser. She says, "Oh, then he's an OTTB"? My mother used to ride OTTBs, they can't turn to the right, they only want to go left! Experienced, my butt.



    Sure, this is the horse for you. I was nice; I sent her off to call a trainer who works with beginners (and NOT with my horse)!

  • #2
    It's a mystery as to why people place themselvs the way they do on the old experience scale. I've ridden for quite a while, done some jumping, a lot of dressage, trails, and I still call myself an advanced beginner.

    It would be easier if there were good definitions of the levels of riding. Obviously a beginner is just that but how many hours/experience do you need to be an intermediate or advanced rider? Does it require showing? Clinic time? Just saddle time? It's so ambiguous.

    She is funny about the ottbs not turning right, where do people get their ideas?

    Comment


    • #3
      I hear you! I have ridden since I was 2 (ok -sat in a saddle) and I'm in my mid 40's, have ridden throughout most of my life, done hunters/fox hunting/trail riding out the ying yang, and have started eventing over the last 5 years or so, and I STILL say, "I'm a beginner/intermediate rider" and I feel like I'm overstating it just a little with the "intermediate" part. LOL

      Comment


      • #4
        Same reason they overestimate their ability to drive a car well.

        Me... I tend to underestimate cause I'd rather enjoy my ride on a been there done that horse

        Comment


        • #5
          I always, always, always understate my level, and I let my riding speak for itself for others to judge. It's kept me out of some hairy situations and also some embarrassing situations before. There's no point attaining a momentary ego boost with it, because at some point the cards will come crashing down around you when you're asked to prove it.
          www.cobjockey.com - Eventing the Welsh Cob

          Comment


          • #6
            If you think selling/leasing a horse is bad for overstating abilities...try working for a trail riding facility.

            People came there to pay for guided rides by the hour. I was a trail guide as one of my barn jobs when I was young. They had to sign a release (even back then) and check a box stating their riding experience. This was so we could determine which horse to put them on.

            Without fail if it was a couple on a date or a few couples...the guys almost *all* checked #1; very experienced. (2 was some experience and 3 was little to no experience) Now we never expected a #1 to have pro experience...it was outlined that they'd ridden on a regular basis at all 3 gaits. Not that they could navigate a speed round in a jump off or anything.

            But the guys never wanted to admit they had maybe had a pony ride when they were little and that was it. We usually just ignored that and put them on the quieter horses...unless the guy was obnoxious. Then he got one of the "speshul" horses. The ones where steering might be optional...or more likely the ones who would try to scrape the rider off in the woods. (woods were called The Knee Trees for a reason, LOL)

            And if he looked like he wanted to cowboy it up and run the legs off of a horse showing off, we gave him Shelley the pinto mare or Dusty the giant pally gelding. Both had 2 speeds: nap and amble. The rider could flap their feet and bounce around like a spider monkey on crack and neither of those two would do more than a few strides of spine-cracking trot and then take a nap.

            But back then, if someone overstated thier abilites and did get scraped off on a tree or their horse just wandered back to the barn with them, ignoring the attempts at steering...nobody got sue-happy. Or if we gave them Jessie and she broke the land-speed record with the person and made them wet themselves a little bit...or Mocha who would pop a little rear to remind the rider who was boss....we didn't worry too much about getting sued.

            Those were the good ol' days.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!
            ...Belefonte

            Comment


            • #7
              I think most of the time in a case like the OP's they honestly don't know how much they don't know. I've seen it tons of times and they really do believe they know a lot--after all, it's just riding a horse, how much could there be to it!

              Also that OTTBs-not-turning-right thing is pretty common even with experienced horse people IME. It's very confusing. I've had good riders be flat out shocked seeing a recently of the track horse who could canter on the right lead/turn right.
              exploring the relationship between horse and human

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                If you think selling/leasing a horse is bad for overstating abilities...try working for a trail riding facility.

                People came there to pay for guided rides by the hour. I was a trail guide as one of my barn jobs when I was young. They had to sign a release (even back then) and check a box stating their riding experience. This was so we could determine which horse to put them on.

                Without fail if it was a couple on a date or a few couples...the guys almost *all* checked #1; very experienced. (2 was some experience and 3 was little to no experience) Now we never expected a #1 to have pro experience...it was outlined that they'd ridden on a regular basis at all 3 gaits. Not that they could navigate a speed round in a jump off or anything.

                But the guys never wanted to admit they had maybe had a pony ride when they were little and that was it. We usually just ignored that and put them on the quieter horses...unless the guy was obnoxious. Then he got one of the "speshul" horses. The ones where steering might be optional...or more likely the ones who would try to scrape the rider off in the woods. (woods were called The Knee Trees for a reason, LOL)

                And if he looked like he wanted to cowboy it up and run the legs off of a horse showing off, we gave him Shelley the pinto mare or Dusty the giant pally gelding. Both had 2 speeds: nap and amble. The rider could flap their feet and bounce around like a spider monkey on crack and neither of those two would do more than a few strides of spine-cracking trot and then take a nap.

                But back then, if someone overstated thier abilites and did get scraped off on a tree or their horse just wandered back to the barn with them, ignoring the attempts at steering...nobody got sue-happy. Or if we gave them Jessie and she broke the land-speed record with the person and made them wet themselves a little bit...or Mocha who would pop a little rear to remind the rider who was boss....we didn't worry too much about getting sued.

                Those were the good ol' days.
                Sounds familar...... We'd put those guys on Dock. And yes that is Dock, not Doc.....He was named Dock for a reason....probably Barge or Pier would have done too You could light dynamite under him and he wasn't going anywhere faster than a walk...and not a fast walk..... Then there was Blondie. Blondie liked to eat the tall grass in the swamp. If the rider was not a good rider, he would make a bee-line for the swamp.....that humbled a few of the braggarts as they stood in the swamp, unable to get off and lead the horse out and unable to make him move...Blondie just stood there munching....

                Our horses knew their jobs well, so all the cowboy riding in the world wouldn't make them veer from the line, which was a good thing.... Plus, if they did manage to do something like that, they got kicked off the horse and had to walk back......

                ah, the good ole days.....

                And what a fabulous job for a teenage girl...started at 9:00 am and rode til sundown.....
                Turn off the computer and go ride!

                Comment


                • #9
                  IME using the term "advanced" to describe riding ability (or "intermediate") is fraught with problems because that may mean HUGELY different things to different people.

                  Some lesson barns consider an "advanced" rider to be one who can canter in two point and trot a crossrail. It really depends on what each party has in mind when they say "advanced".

                  Might be better to specify the requisite skill level more: "a rider who has ridden in the hunt field or competed in at least Training level eventing", for instance, or "proficient at third level dressage" or "experience galloping horses on the track", etc.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    LOL Foggy...we also made them take the Walk Of Shame back if they acted like morons.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!
                    ...Belefonte

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is why, when we held lessons here with my horses, we ignored the "level" the person thought they were riding and assessed them on a good horse.

                      I've been riding for 30+ years and I would never call myself advanced. Yet, on the resumes of a few 19 year old barn help, they say they ride and TEACH advanced. Holy Mother of God...(grin).

                      I've learned to ignore self-diagnosed expertise in riding, handling, training. The proof is in the pudding.
                      www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                      "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                      Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                        IME using the term "advanced" to describe riding ability (or "intermediate") is fraught with problems because that may mean HUGELY different things to different people.

                        Some lesson barns consider an "advanced" rider to be one who can canter in two point and trot a crossrail. It really depends on what each party has in mind when they say "advanced".

                        Might be better to specify the requisite skill level more: "a rider who has ridden in the hunt field or competed in at least Training level eventing", for instance, or "proficient at third level dressage" or "experience galloping horses on the track", etc.
                        I totally agree with this. I mean, it also kind of blows my mind to hear someone like sid say that she's been riding for 30+ years and doesn't consider herself advanced, but it's a really common sentiment. I think it comes from realizing how much more there is to learn, comparing oneself to the masters, etc. but at the same time, "intermediate" isn't really an appropriate descriptor for someone with that kind of experience IMO. I think those terms are pretty pointless and it's better to describe certain activities.
                        exploring the relationship between horse and human

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CosMonster View Post
                          I totally agree with this. I mean, it also kind of blows my mind to hear someone like sid say that she's been riding for 30+ years and doesn't consider herself advanced, but it's a really common sentiment. I think it comes from realizing how much more there is to learn, comparing oneself to the masters, etc. but at the same time, "intermediate" isn't really an appropriate descriptor for someone with that kind of experience IMO. I think those terms are pretty pointless and it's better to describe certain activities.
                          I've been riding for >40 years and 20 years ago I would have said I was advanced, but these days I'd have to dial it back to intermediate...age, fitness level and balance have taken their toll......

                          But I'd agree with you, while I have advanced skills in certain areas of riding, I'd probably fall off a good cutting horse and I

                          I keep hoping I can get back into shape and regain some of those lost skills, but it just isn't happening.... Maybe gravity is just getting stronger these days.....
                          Turn off the computer and go ride!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When I was in college I went backpacking through England with my (horsey) boyfriend. we signed up to go out hacking over the moors from a livery in Dartmoor, and told the guy when we called that we were reasonably competent ( bf played polo and jumped 3'6", I was comfy more like 3' but had been hunter pacing that year).

                            After we arrived and asked for polo wraps to wrap our calves in lieu of half chaps (we were backpacking, after all), he watched us wrap for a minute, and said "I'll be back, I've got to get new horses for you."

                            We had an awesome and fast paced ride over the moors after he fetched upgraded horses for us...he was an ex steeplechase jockey and told us 90% of the folks who came overestimated their abilities, so he just ignored what they said mostly...

                            He said a woman once called and told him she had "a little experience" ... And when she arrived, he recognized her from his steeplechasing days...

                            But mostly, it's the other way around...
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              People just don't know what they don't know. It's a fact.

                              But your horse sounds like a blast. If you want to send him to Massachusetts, our hunt season starts Tuesday!
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CosMonster View Post
                                I think most of the time in a case like the OP's they honestly don't know how much they don't know.
                                Agreed. And this is scariest when these people decide they are "trainers" and ruin horses for clueless clients.


                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by sid View Post
                                  This is why, when we held lessons here with my horses, we ignored the "level" the person thought they were riding and assessed them on a good horse.

                                  I've been riding for 30+ years and I would never call myself advanced. Yet, on the resumes of a few 19 year old barn help, they say they ride and TEACH advanced. Holy Mother of God...(grin).

                                  I've learned to ignore self-diagnosed expertise in riding, handling, training. The proof is in the pudding.
                                  Yup. There are a few schoolies at my barn who will happily pack a beginner around but aren't a complete deadhead for a more advanced rider. I like the lesson people who underestimate their ability--it's a nice change from the parents who think little Suzie is the next great Olympian.

                                  This chart was in PH a few years ago. I thought it was really good.
                                  http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid..._riding_031108
                                  I love my Econo-Nag!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree, people (especially those between beginner/intermediate) do not realize how much more there is to learn. After all, they have mastered posting and most of the time they know what lead they are on!

                                    I've been riding a long time, and try to be as vague as possible so not to sound like I am more experienced than I am. When I was trying horses, a friend went with me and inevitably was told "wow, she's a very good rider". (I'm not, but I bet in relation to most of the yahoos they got responding to ads, I looked like the second coming of George Morris). I'd rather undersell myself and overdeliver.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      It's for this reason that I'm tempted to ask potential buyers for riding videos before allowing them on my horse. I have one I may be interested in selling this summer, but he is VERY sensitive and one bad ride could really mess with him. He could also end up hurting someone who thinks they are more experienced than they really are.
                                      "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                        If you think selling/leasing a horse is bad for overstating abilities...try working for a trail riding facility.

                                        People came there to pay for guided rides by the hour. I was a trail guide as one of my barn jobs when I was young. They had to sign a release (even back then) and check a box stating their riding experience. This was so we could determine which horse to put them on.

                                        Without fail if it was a couple on a date or a few couples...the guys almost *all* checked #1; very experienced. (2 was some experience and 3 was little to no experience) Now we never expected a #1 to have pro experience...it was outlined that they'd ridden on a regular basis at all 3 gaits. Not that they could navigate a speed round in a jump off or anything.

                                        But the guys never wanted to admit they had maybe had a pony ride when they were little and that was it. We usually just ignored that and put them on the quieter horses...unless the guy was obnoxious. Then he got one of the "speshul" horses. The ones where steering might be optional...or more likely the ones who would try to scrape the rider off in the woods. (woods were called The Knee Trees for a reason, LOL)

                                        And if he looked like he wanted to cowboy it up and run the legs off of a horse showing off, we gave him Shelley the pinto mare or Dusty the giant pally gelding. Both had 2 speeds: nap and amble. The rider could flap their feet and bounce around like a spider monkey on crack and neither of those two would do more than a few strides of spine-cracking trot and then take a nap.

                                        But back then, if someone overstated thier abilites and did get scraped off on a tree or their horse just wandered back to the barn with them, ignoring the attempts at steering...nobody got sue-happy. Or if we gave them Jessie and she broke the land-speed record with the person and made them wet themselves a little bit...or Mocha who would pop a little rear to remind the rider who was boss....we didn't worry too much about getting sued.

                                        Those were the good ol' days.
                                        My dad and I used to do a annual trip to the Adirondaks. The 3rd day we would go for a 4 hour WTC. The first year, they tried to talk us out of it and put us on two deadheads. The next year, they REMEMBERED us, fought over who got to go, and put us on two guide horses instead of guest horses. Apparently, in the 4 years we went we were the only ones to do the 4 hour wtc.
                                        .

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