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I give up, or what to do with a horse who doesn't want to play?

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  • Originally posted by mbm View Post
    its not about blaming its about taking responsibility for your riding - saying the horse did x actually means i wasn't able to ride x in a manner that resulted in a good outcome.

    So because she expressed her emotions the wrong way (in your opinion) they are the wrong emotions?

    riders will only progress and have "fun" once they realize that they are responsible for each outcome.

    The horse chucked her into the fence. I'm pretty certain she's not self-chucking. Only really twisted people self-chuck.

    and yes, horses are horses but still - 99% of the time the outcome is due to the rider....
    Nope, see, I fundamentally disagree with this statement. Horses have free will- they can try to stay with you or they can try to chuck you.And the more horses you know, the more you know how variable they can be in their personalities. They aren't bicycles. They make choices.

    sooo..... all of that just means that for those that keep saying my horse does "x" i suggest turning it around into an "i" statement. that direction leads to progress and fun - if for no other reason than the understanding that the rider has control over the outcomes for the vast majority of situations. and *that* leads to confidence, understaading, learning, progress, and yes, more fun

    I saw red when I read this post b/c what I'm hearing is 'it's all your fault, OP, and if you'd only apply yourself more effectively to this horse you'd have more fun with this horse.


    • Originally posted by Rallycairn View Post
      Of course some horses don't want to play, and of course the rider/horse fit must be there, but given the original poster's information (particularly her repeatedly stating she's not in a position to give regular schooling over jumps) and the perspective from eventer_mi, is this horse really such a bad actor or just the other loser in the "poor fit" relationship? Eventer_mi did say the horse looked like it was spooking at the fence where the rider was thrown, which to me raises the possibility that the horse just needs more exposure/training/schooling than the OP has the time or facilities to give in her current situation.

      I really hate to say, given that I have never sat on this horse, nor do I know what's been going on in lessons and such, but I have had the opportunity to observe this particular pair over the course of a year.

      At this particular show, the horse was definitely putting on the brakes about three strides out - why, I'm not sure. The fence wasn't one that was one of the spookier ones at the show - if I remember correctly, it was a simple oxer, or even possibly a vertical. The horse had jumped about three or four of the fences previously just fine - in fact, they were having rather a good roun up until this point. At the show I saw them at about a month ago, the horse was spooking badly at a rather colorful max oxer off a short turn. So, the question remains is does this particular horse just need exposure? Or does he not want to play? Either way, I don't think it matters because the OP is not in the position to be able to help him. This is just a bad pairing, for whatever reason.

      I had a lovely, talented registered Belgian Warmblood a few years ago. We got along like a match made in heaven, with the exception of one thing - he absolutely HATED the barn I had to board him at. He was perfect when I took him away from the facility, but he was scary as hell to ride at the barn. Since I had another horse at the time, I couldn't afford double board at any other place BUT this barn, so the horse had to go. Sommetimes, it's a poor match for whatever reason - it doesn't mean that the OP is a bad rider, or a poor horseman - it simply means that AT THIS TIME, they are not getting along. If I had my Belgian WB now, we'd probably be going Prelim and winning - he was that good. But I no longer board at that barn, and no longer have two to care for. If the OP was in a different situation where she could have access to regular help, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. However, she's not, and things are the way they are, and the right thing to do is move the horse on to someone who fits him better than the OP where she is right now. No judgement needs to passed on this - it is the way it is.
      "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

      So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


      • MBM, I have a horse for you. I will send her to you for free. She will teach you many, many things. Humility, for one.

        She is a horse who Will Not Play With You. She Is Not Fun. I have retired her to the pasture.

        I hesitate to give her away to anyone because she cannot be trusted -- but perhaps you have the Magic Touch that will make her a willing and happy partner.

        OP, find your horse a home where he can do what he's good at and what he enjoys. My gelding was a failed (injured) jumper, who is now my Third Level, and hopefully soon, Fourth Level happy partner. I'm a professional, and I still think riding should be FUN. Life's too short, and this sport is too expensive to waste your time and money on a horse you don't enjoy.Plus, I'll guaran-dam-tee you you'll learn more when you're having FUN!

        Find a partner you can be happy with and don't look back!


        • i have no idea how my comments about a rider being willing to take responsibility for outcomes means i think i can handle every horse?

          i know i cant - i know pretty damn well what my limitations are and are not.


          • Well, so does the OP. This horse is not suitable for her, yet you insist she keep bashing her head into the wall -- for what purpose?

            Amateur riders don't always have the time and resources to fix a horse that needs fixing. Sometimes it's better to cut your losses and get on with life.

            By saying she cannot handle this horse's issues IS taking responsibility.


            • I have no advice, only personal experience to add, limited though it is.

              My first ever horse had competed to 1.10m eventing with his previous rider and gone double clear. She was a good rider and very good at getting to the right spot. Me, not so much, so he'd quit if the jump was much over 80cm. He was a quick stopper but not dirty, didn't spin, but it didn't do much for my confidence. I sold him in 18mths, to a girl who wanted to do dressage (which he was good at) and the odd tiny event.

              Second horse was a green mare, never jumped before, ok movement, turned out to have an average jump, not especially athletic. She was willing, willing, willing (ok, the ditches took a while to get for both of us). We ended up successfully competing to 95cm eventing, 1.05cm SJ. I did have regular lessons, about 2xmonth, but that mare really did try for me.

              Third horse: super experienced SJ and foxhunter. Retired due to injury, I still miss her.

              Fourth horse: super fancy moving green mare that had never jumped. I found that while she had an amazing jump she didn't have the heart for it. No dirty stops, but she wasn't that keen on it and she would stop. It's possible with a more experienced rider doing her training that she might have been a more confident jumper - I did have lessons with some very good trainers, but still. Every competition we went to we got placed (eventing, SJ and show hunter, plus I hunted her). I sold her to a dressage/showing home, where she loves it and is winning lots.

              The next horse I buy I want it to be already started over fences so that I can judge what kind of jumper it is ie naturally brave and willing. Horse 1 I didn't have the experience to judge how I would do vs his previous rider, Horse 2 I was lucky with, Horse 3 was just plain awesome and Horse 4 just wasn't quite right for me. Incidentally I loved horse 4, inspite of some exciting green behaviour at the beginning (she's sharp and hot) and less than stella behavious jumping - she was so much fun to be with, to hack out, to school on the flat. But I wouldn't have kept her, even if she wasn't a resale - she didn't love what I loved.

              So in my small experience some horses will give you their all, regardless of how green on green you are.

              Yes, lessons, improving my riding and being as objective as possible about what I'm doing has been/is really important, but it's not everything. Honestly, when I think back (and boy, it's humbling looking at photos and vids from my early years) Horse 2 really put up with my whole learning curve. She was far from perfect, but she took a joke and she wanted to do the job.

              OP: good luck, whatever you decide. Horses can be so much fun and so much heartache!


              • fwiw I think the many professionals also dont like dealing or wasting their time with horses that dont have a natural desire to say yes (even in strange situations) and try for you unless they have oodles of talent and even than they better be oozing talent and even than they may pass.


                • MBM... Why does the horse need pushed through this? At her expense?

                  Sounds like he jumps in the ring and does Dressage just fine. Why can't he find a home doing that? With full disclosure if the new owner wants to work on cross country then fine. Let them do it.

                  Doesn't sound like she plans on dumping him at a low end auction, and he has marketable skills. What's wrong with that?


                  • a horse who, says "NO, cannot be ridden around with more strength; longer spurs, sharper whip, etc.find another horse , even one doing "baby green"s; who may be too forward for the hunter ring
                    breeder of Mercury!

                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                    • Sometimes it's the horse, sometimes it's the rider, and sometimes it's just a bad match with an otherwise good horse and rider. OP, the horse I talked to you about was a superstar with his original rider. Really a prodigy, winning prelim at 5 with never a penalty, time or otherwise. Rider got injured, permanently retired, sent horse to incredibly good rider and although they are best buds on the ground never clicked. So my prodigy is now a trail horse, just is what it is sometimes. Just because you can't make it work with this one horse doesn't mean anything. Just like all things in life, the right one will come along and you will wonder why you messed with the wrong one for so long


                      • Just read throught his thread, and I want to commend the OP for coming out here, and asking for advice, and talking openly about problems with this horse.

                        I see no reason at all to place blame anywhere. The simple point is that this horse does not do his job for the OP and it is not a happy situation.

                        OP, I forever see mismatched horse-rider pairs and it is sad because everyone deserves to enjoy this sport. People hang onto unsuitable horses and eventually they end up not liking the sport because it isn't fun. That is sad and I hope you will send this guy along and find someone who is suitable and honest for you... before it is too late and you lose interest altogether.

                        I'm what my trainers call an promateur, meaning that I'm an amateur who rides any sort of horse. But I've come across horses that I just couldn't ride, and top trainers admit that they have as well. It isn't lack of skill. It is lack of a good match. It may be that this horse will go xc with another rider. It may be that he won't. Either way, it is just not a good match for you.

                        Life is to be enjoyed. Please send him along and find another, so you can go out and play the game with a big smile on your face! That's what it's all about, imho.


                        • Life is too short to continue making yourself, your horse, and everyone around you miserable. I've been there and it definitely sucks. When I moved from ponies to my first horse, we ended up with an appendix who had supposedly been there done that. Didn't take him on trial which was a mistake (live and learn) and he turned out to be a very very difficult ride for me. After a lot of issues, it got to the point where I would drive out for lessons and hope he was lame. After 4 years of trying to make it work, my family and I made the decision that it was time to move him on. It wasn't fair to him or me to continue to torture both of us. And after dealing with him for so long, my confidence was as low as it could be. Took me years to deal with those issues.

                          Bottom line: Find him a good home being with and doing something he wants to do. And find something that wants to play the same games as you.