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Losing Confidence on New Horse

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  • doctordarling
    replied
    Also to follow up, I did check out Warwick Schiller - I've watched his YouTube channel before and he never fails to come up with great effective tools. Jane Pike has a 'confidence program' but I like more horse/technical, riding-focused things.
    Last edited by doctordarling; Jun. 17, 2020, 09:28 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ubu&Goober
    replied
    Originally posted by WildLittleWren View Post
    I have been following Warwick Schiller, he has some fabulous videos on focus, connection, and relaxation. Some of his wife's videos touch on anxiety in people, and they tie it all together nicely. You might look into it. A lot of the work is like watching paint dry, but it REALLY makes you be present, focused, and relaxed, as well as it makes your horse be more present, focused, and relaxed. Just a thought, throwing it out there. He has a video subscription which I subscribe to, but there are also other videos out there, even other clinicians and trainers that have different methods and good ideas on how to get you, and your horse, to relax.

    Good luck OP!
    He also has a LOT of information in the videos that are available for free on You Tube if the subscription isn't an option. You can get a really good feel for how he currently approaches things in the recent videos (last 3-4 years). He had a clinic at his place in Hollister, CA this past weekend. They elected not to have auditors, but live-streamed the clinic on FB. Both days are currently up on You Tube, but I think are eventually going to be archived in the video subscription. You can watch the paint dry in real time and see how he shapes the horses and trains owners.

    He also has a video titled "Helping horses and their humans go outside their comfort zones" that is worth a look.

    Most of these stories seem to involve horses in the 5-7 age range and at least a couple seemed to go awry at the one year mark. I think a lot of horses don't really come out of their shell with a new owner for a year or more and also at this age I think they are starting to make that transition from a "gee ok, sure" personality to one that is more expressive. Their tool chest for expression has gotten larger and they are likely better muscled and balanced. They might not even intend to have that bigger canter (for example) but their muscling and balance changes their way of going and the bigger step is the natural byproduct.

    Leave a comment:


  • BITSA
    replied
    I bought a 4 yo dutch warmblood almost 4 years ago. My trainer would only help me buy him (I bought him off video from Europe....I know....) if I could keep my steady eddie a year, which I did. He was about 163 when i bought him and is now 17.2. The first year I started riding him in earnest was when he was 5 close to turning 6. I cannot tell you how many rides i cried after and actually had a panic attack at a show and had to get off and lay down and breathe. he wasn't being naughty, he was just a big young horse. He actually has an amazing brain but that didn't mean it felt good or that i wasn't scared sometimes. There was a lot of 1 step forward and 2 steps back. As one of the posters above said I had to really readjust my expectations, both of him, of me, and of us. I needed my trainer to ride him a little more and just to focus on mastering basic things. When he got close to turning 7 we finally started to sometimes be on the same page, and by the end of last year we were working together as a team. It is still hard. There are still days and weeks nothing goes well, but I know that those moments of harmony are possible. I don't know if you have a trainer who can help you through this, I hope you do. I also recommend doing some groundwork with him, we did a clinic with melanie Taylor Smith that had a day and a half of groundwork and it made a huge difference. Good luck, I empathize.

    Leave a comment:


  • doctordarling
    replied
    I'm in the same boat as OP and Moonstone. So the 'Chrono collective wisdom' has been really useful.

    Nine months ago I bought a exceptionally quiet and kind rising six wb/tb mare. I was looking for something older, but eight months of intense searching turned up thirty odd horses in my price range with either major conformational issues, or behavioral ones. I had just retired my senior PSG schoolmaster had I'd had and competed up to Advanced on for 8 years. I have a wonderful coach who I've had for years, and who knows old and new horse well.

    Just pre-Covid I had a fall off her. I let her get wobbly and out of balance in right canter [her stiffer side] when the arena was busy with several other horses, the hay cart going out, and dogs bolting around in the field beside the arena. Boumph! a spin, a couple of broncs, and I was over the rooftops. Landed on my bum. Got up and thought 'hmm' more 'stimulus stacking' going on around us than I'd realised. Got back on and rode walk quietly around in walk uneventfully.

    I didn't want to canter her after that -- but with coach's support and practice, and 'doing the homework' we got over that (she has such a lovely canter!) Then came lockdown -- we had barn access but I think both the mare and I got a bit arena sour.

    Then last month out of the blue, my Dad nearly died of a blood clot - was rushed to emergency surgery, which didn't work, and the next step was a brutal amputation. He's 84 and I'm 56 and we are incredibly close.

    The anxiety of this, the loss of income from my cultural tour business due to venues closing because of the pandemic, bitter winter [yes, even down here] has meant really hard to get rid of anxiety symptoms before riding. Butterflies, racing heart, sick feeling, etc.

    I'm not usually a nervous rider but I am a cautious one. Rode from primary school to Uni, had a long break and got back to it ten years ago. I liked what one poster said, 'it takes a unique kind of rider to kick forward a horse that feels like its already exploding'. That's not me when I first get on, but as I warm up, I am pretty okay with knowing when I'm being tested about whether I'm being 'serious' and knowing when I'm getting an honest response.

    I'm just running on 'empty' atm and of all areas in my life that would start to give I didn't expect this. But when they get their latches into you, nerves are hard to deal with. My coach doesn't think I'm over-horsed. The mare herself has no vices, will 'have a look' or a scoot but will settle and has certainly never been 'squirrelly'.

    I like the notion of confidence being like a muscle. Each successful positive ride helps. I'm out on the mare four or five times a week. I also read somewhere that the fear centre of the brain, the amagdyla, calms down with oxcytocin, which is triggered by trust; in your own skills and in your horse. Breathing is good. So is realising all the thousands of rides that have gone well. And hey, at least we're not, like that Western Australian girl I read about today, surfing a wave 'The Right' so huge and dangerous only a handful of surfers around the world can tackle it. That's a dangerous sport. :-) ddx

    Leave a comment:


  • "A"HunterGal
    replied
    So I joined the Noelle Floyd Masterclass series about 4 months ago, and the latest one they put out is AMAZING and such an amazing resource for ALL of the things mentioned in this thread. It's by Dr. Jenny Susser, and it's called How to Control Fear and Anxiety.

    I think that one thing that's a part of it is that we're not really talking about confidence, I think that fear is the main emotional response in a lot of these situations, which is a much more fight/flight, basic emotional response. Confidence is more of a way of carrying yourself, and less of an actual emotion. When you are confident, you feel, X,Y, and Z. When you are scared, or nervous, or anxious, it's impossible to feel confident.

    Anyone who has felt overfaced by a horse, scared that a horse will buck/spook/spin, had a bad experience on the ground with a horse, or has a fear of any kind, this course really help you understand the physiological side of it and change your reactions and behavior. I actually found it more useful for some bike riding issues that I've developed in the past three or four years, and I can't wait to get back to riding on gravel and dirt roads like I used to with ease!

    Unsure if you can join just for one masterclass, but even if you can't I think that the membership is more than worth it for all of the other amazing courses that they offer. Sorry if this sounds like a plug, but I've been digging into it more during quarantine and have some away with some great tips and tricks and insight into all areas of horsemanship!



    Leave a comment:


  • Atlas Shrugged
    replied
    Young horses need us to be brave for them, which is easier said than done. I have trained most of the horses I have owned from green-broke to indoors. I am 61 and training a beautiful, athletic 18hh wb who just turned 7 last week. Sometimes I don't look forward to all the nonsense, but I now school in full-seat breeches and spray "glue" on my legs and go for it. I am experienced, and have good survival skills, but sometimes I wish I could just relax on him. He has to "look" at jumps first, which is challenging at the A shows, but I pick venues that have lots relaxed schooling schedules and empty schooling rings to ride him down a bit. By the third day he gets it. Then covid came along. Now it will be back to square 1. I try to take him to friend's farms for a change of scenery (yikes!) and sometimes give him a touch of Ace if I am not planning on jumping. It simply takes time, and bravery, and glue and a good helmet! And keep em tired, as the cowboys like to say. Eventually they reach an age where they seem to relax. It just takes time and patience and safety measures. Stay safe and good luck and be brave.

    Leave a comment:


  • IPEsq
    replied
    Originally posted by Moonstone721 View Post

    I am with a trainer 4-5x per week, and yes! We have been working on lunging, ground manners/how to correct behaviors I don't want on the ground, etc.

    And you're right...I had one of those "horse won't stop/run it into the fence" rides when I was about 15 and it was a much different situation. Maybe 2 laps around? Although now in my mid-30's, something like this hits just as hard. LOL. But we've been doing exactly that -- me riding on the lunge line when I'm feeling up to it. We started with a couple literal pony rides, and I've gotten up to a trot so far. So your suggestions have been spot on -- thank you!
    I totally get it. I’m nowhere near as brave as I used to be and have gone through my own confidence issues being in the same age range as you. But it does not sound like this horse is a dangerous ride doing dirty stuff. He does sound like he’s a bit dangerous on the ground if you can’t keep his attention on you on the longe, but this is a skill not everyone focuses on. And to be honest I didn’t used to either but I would just get on most of the time—I only longed one that was super broke on the longe. But I feel too old for that now and don’t ride enough horses a day anymore and so I learned how to handle a lot of things from the ground.

    You can’t help feeling more fragile as you get older. Even if it’s not about being scared of being physically hurt, you have more responsibilities than you did at 15. You’ve got to work and take care of your house and drive yourself places and if you have kids, you are responsible for them too.

    But since this horse doesn’t sound like a dangerous horse to ride just a bit more horse than you are used to, I think you can learn some skills with him that will help you a lot in the long run. It will be a slower process than if you were a teen. Use all those trainer contacts to help you as well as the horse

    Leave a comment:


  • Momateur
    replied
    I'm in a somewhat similar situation. There was a serious incident and now I simply don't trust this horse. I don't even like being in the stall with him. I'm selling him. That might not be the answer for you, but for me, I hate the anxiety. I want the barn to be my happy place again.

    Leave a comment:


  • Moonstone721
    replied
    Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
    Moonstone, not sure how many times the trainer is already working with the horse per week or what your training budget is but could you swap some of the training rides for ground lessons? Learn better skills so that you are productive when you interact with your horse on your own. This doesn’t have to be lunging...you can go farther back to basics than that since a young fresh one can get a little wild on the lunge if you don’t know how to nip that behavior. I mean very basic yield to pressure exercises and controlling the feet.

    Then I think you need to get on more. And it’s 100% fine to do this with your trainer attached via lead or lunge line. Learn to just go with your horse (trainer won’t let him get away). Learn how to feel safe on a horse with his own motor. Because “my horse scooted and wouldn’t stop) does not mean forward canter to B and 3/4 of a circle. Won’t stop is like run the horse into the fence or get taken for laps around the arena behavior. Get on the lunge line and put a grab strap on your saddle and take it one step at a time from walk up to forward canter.

    There is also no shame in selling this horse and getting something more of a kick along type but horses will be horses and even the kick along ones could have a moment so these skills are things you should work on at some point.
    I am with a trainer 4-5x per week, and yes! We have been working on lunging, ground manners/how to correct behaviors I don't want on the ground, etc.

    And you're right...I had one of those "horse won't stop/run it into the fence" rides when I was about 15 and it was a much different situation. Maybe 2 laps around? Although now in my mid-30's, something like this hits just as hard. LOL. But we've been doing exactly that -- me riding on the lunge line when I'm feeling up to it. We started with a couple literal pony rides, and I've gotten up to a trot so far. So your suggestions have been spot on -- thank you!

    Leave a comment:


  • SuzieQNutter
    replied
    Originally posted by chukkerchild View Post

    Hey! I wanted to quote you specifically but also want to offer some advice to the OP since I think they are similar issues.

    So I have ridden my whole life (I'm no great shakes or anything), but a few years ago I had an episode that really crashed my confidence. I was riding a very familiar trustworthy mare and we were going for an easy canter. She overstepped and caught herself and flipped on top of me. We were both thankfully fine, I cracked a couple of ribs but was otherwise unharmed and she just twisted her shoe.

    Anyway, after that my confidence was AWFUL. I went from being keen to move up in jumping and playing polo to feeling nervous to canter. Every time the horse took a misstep I felt like they were going to fall on me.

    Here's what really helped me. Confidence is a muscle. It's really not that much different mentally from coming back from a physical injury. If you've broken a leg, you don't blast out the door the next day and feel dismayed that you can't run 10km like you did yesterday. You start with easy exercises, then you do a light jog, you might increase pace or distance slowly. But you always push yourself a little farther than you did the day before. And soon your leg is strong again.

    For your confidence, do the same thing. If you're afraid to canter right now but feel okay at walk and trot, tell yourself: today I will do one circle of canter. A really specific goal. Do your one circle of canter and that's all you have to do that day to push yourself. The next day, you might try two circles and a lead change. Or maybe you go and ride in the outdoor ring. Don't combine these goals or make any of them too daunting on their own. But DO THEM. One tiny push every time you ride. Here's another key part -- you might do the circle of canter and it goes great and you're tempted to do more, but don't. Save it for tomorrow. Foster that sense of "Aww, that was easy, I could do more." And if there's a day where you've gotten on with the intent to ride a canter circle but your horse is very up and spooky, you modify the goal a little -- say okay, he's giving me his own challenge so instead of the canter circle it will be a forward trot where I bend him away from the spooky corner.

    This sounds a little trite or obvious maybe but it really helps me. You take baby steps, but you take them. With all due respect I don't think that getting an easier or quieter horse or going back to walk will help. That's moving in the wrong direction. Just take tiny steps forward every day. If you're really scared, they can be even more tiny. The first day you walk a circle. The next day you walk it in two point. Then you pick up a trot. Remember, you are slowly building strength. You won't even feel how much stronger you've gotten. Then you'll be nervously wondering if you can gallop down to that 1.2m single and you'll realize two months ago you were scared to canter a circle but somehow that changed.

    Good luck!! You really really can do it!

    ​​
    You can lose your confidence without falling off.

    I am very experienced, but I stopped riding when I lost 2 horses in 2 days. One to old age. One to snake bite.

    A year later, I went back to a riding school and rode Steady Eddie's. I stayed in walk for ages. Just going to trot in the last half of the lesson and not cantering always.

    I got better. Once a week it took me 6 months to hop on and trot after warming up in walk and canter without worrying.

    Leave a comment:


  • chukkerchild
    replied
    Originally posted by Moonstone721 View Post
    Hi OP and everyone else,

    After the initial scary ride, I figured there was no shame in just gradually getting back on and getting back into it...but the problem is, it's not getting better. With each ride, it's almost getting worse. It's even crossed my mind to sell him and look for something potentially a little older and/or slower, or at least a little more push-button, but hubby says no, this is the horse we bought, so this is the horse you ride. Now I have to laugh thinking about how badly I'd been wanting to canter...at this point I'd just like to WALK. Lol. This is certainly no fun for me right now, and it's hard for me to picture not feeling like this. I feel like I've lost so much in such a short amount of time.

    It's interesting to see people saying horses get a little kooky in the spring, although we don't have grass pastures in my region. Like I mentioned, he just had his teeth done after being overdue. He's also 100% on alfalfa now (last place he was on a mix of alfalfa and oat). Same supplements, but

    Anyway, I wanted to reach out and see if anyone would like to be e-mail penpals and help each other talk through some of these things. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone, though I'm sorry anyone else is also feeling like this. All I have right now is my husband (who doesn't get it) and my barnmates...I honestly could just really use a friend. If anyone is interested, please send me a private message and we'll get it started. If more than one person is interested, maybe we could make a group e-mail chain. If this is too much of a hi-jack of the OP, please let me know and I can delete and move it somewhere else. Thanks everyone, if you made it this far!

    (Yes, I tend to get a little long winded. Sorry! I used to be a writer, but don't get to do so very much anymore, and sometimes when I get started I just can't stop. *facepalm*)
    Hey! I wanted to quote you specifically but also want to offer some advice to the OP since I think they are similar issues.

    So I have ridden my whole life (I'm no great shakes or anything), but a few years ago I had an episode that really crashed my confidence. I was riding a very familiar trustworthy mare and we were going for an easy canter. She overstepped and caught herself and flipped on top of me. We were both thankfully fine, I cracked a couple of ribs but was otherwise unharmed and she just twisted her shoe.

    Anyway, after that my confidence was AWFUL. I went from being keen to move up in jumping and playing polo to feeling nervous to canter. Every time the horse took a misstep I felt like they were going to fall on me.

    Here's what really helped me. Confidence is a muscle. It's really not that much different mentally from coming back from a physical injury. If you've broken a leg, you don't blast out the door the next day and feel dismayed that you can't run 10km like you did yesterday. You start with easy exercises, then you do a light jog, you might increase pace or distance slowly. But you always push yourself a little farther than you did the day before. And soon your leg is strong again.

    For your confidence, do the same thing. If you're afraid to canter right now but feel okay at walk and trot, tell yourself: today I will do one circle of canter. A really specific goal. Do your one circle of canter and that's all you have to do that day to push yourself. The next day, you might try two circles and a lead change. Or maybe you go and ride in the outdoor ring. Don't combine these goals or make any of them too daunting on their own. But DO THEM. One tiny push every time you ride. Here's another key part -- you might do the circle of canter and it goes great and you're tempted to do more, but don't. Save it for tomorrow. Foster that sense of "Aww, that was easy, I could do more." And if there's a day where you've gotten on with the intent to ride a canter circle but your horse is very up and spooky, you modify the goal a little -- say okay, he's giving me his own challenge so instead of the canter circle it will be a forward trot where I bend him away from the spooky corner.

    This sounds a little trite or obvious maybe but it really helps me. You take baby steps, but you take them. With all due respect I don't think that getting an easier or quieter horse or going back to walk will help. That's moving in the wrong direction. Just take tiny steps forward every day. If you're really scared, they can be even more tiny. The first day you walk a circle. The next day you walk it in two point. Then you pick up a trot. Remember, you are slowly building strength. You won't even feel how much stronger you've gotten. Then you'll be nervously wondering if you can gallop down to that 1.2m single and you'll realize two months ago you were scared to canter a circle but somehow that changed.

    Good luck!! You really really can do it!

    ​​

    Leave a comment:


  • endlessclimb
    replied
    I feel like they're fresh in the spring because blanekts get lighter and they get a "little more cool air on their chests", and then settle down in early summer because it's not fun anymore to eff around in 90F with bugs to battle all day.

    Just my take, having seen it with my late mare who was never on grass and was an idiot for a month or two in the spring. Some rides, I just stuck her on a 10-15m circle for 30 minutes and quit. Lunging just wound her up tighter, being able to supple from the saddle was the only (small) hope I had of getting anywhere with her on those days.

    Leave a comment:


  • kande04
    replied
    Originally posted by IPEsq View Post

    Then I think you need to get on more. And it’s 100% fine to do this with your trainer attached via lead or lunge line. Learn to just go with your horse (trainer won’t let him get away).
    Haha, famous last words. A friend of mine bought what seemed like the perfect horse for an adult beginner (small, stout 20 year old kick ride, in work, that everyone swore was the perfect horse for her). Only trouble was that the horse was spooky, and something scared it and it took off and dumped the rider and dragged the trainer until she fell down and had to let go.

    It wasn't the first time the owner had come off, but after almost two years of regular lessons and hiring trainers to ride her that was the final straw and the horse was passed on to a better rider.

    Leave a comment:


  • kande04
    replied
    Originally posted by BAC View Post

    If the horse is too much for you (your words, not mine), would you consider selling him for something you could enjoy more right now? I'm not against taking your time but all that walking would bore me to death if it was months of walking.. An 18 hand horse with a "big spook" that is "too much" for you doesn't sound like a good ammy prospect.
    When I was young enough to be fit enough that months of walking would have bored me to death the spooks wouldn't have phased me, so it's possible that the op is being pushed to do more by a trainer, or maybe doesn't realize that ramping it down until the horse is calm enough is a perfectly good and sensible option?

    Leave a comment:


  • ScarlettTrinity
    replied
    Moonstone721 My first piece of advice for you and anyone else dealing with a spooky horse is take your horse off alfalfa. It's high in protein and makes them incredibly stupid, especially in the spring and fall. Switch to a grass hay like orchard or timothy or teff. I say this because I've been through the same thing with my horse as you and the OP. I found switching my horse to orchard made me not want to kill him when he decided to spook at EVERYTHING.

    My story is a little similar but not the same. I got this wonderful horse in high school and my trainer at the time was schooling him much higher than I was making him a bit too much for me. Additionally he had a, "hold on, I've got this attitude" which is great except when you feel like you can't throw in a half halt or get him to stop. I spent a fair amount of time changing bits, schooling lower fences, trying a running martingale, using a kennington, and so on and so on. I always had to take him back down because when the fence got bigger, he would rush and ignore me. He was handy so I didn't mind but I wasn't a gutsy 17 year old who didn't care, I've seen accidents and I'm not stupid enough to think it can't happen to me. It was a long and frustrating process. It took YEARS to find what worked, what trainer worked, what methods worked, what feed worked, what supplements helped, and for me to get enough courage to go, "I'm not comfortable but I'm okay." Sometimes you have to really work through the pain to get there. If you can't deal with it, you need to let it go and find something your speed. It depends on your tenacity and willpower. I had a trainer once who made you get off and do sit ups or push ups if you started crying. There are all levels of riding and you need to find what your speed is and how far you're willing to go. It's not always easy but if it was it would be less fun and less of an accomplishment. I struggled through my frustrating days and I'm glad I found a solution that worked for me. I've had a successful relationship with my horse for 20 years but the first 3 (at least) were a struggle. And I'm not going to lie, there are still days I get mad when he spooks and jumps at literally nothing but that's just his game.

    Also, remember when you get a horse, you're going to go through a testing phase. They will be great and then they want to see if you mean what you say and what they can get away with. This is when having a great trainer in your corner can really help. Don't be afraid to take some time, practice on an older and more accomplished horse, let your trainer sort out your horse for a month or so and then come back. Take the time to practice basic lateral work, even if it's just at a walk. The more small successes you have the better you will feel.

    Also, get them off of straight alfalfa!! Seriously. Also, look in to something called Focus by Immubiome. It's a game changer.

    Good luck!

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  • IPEsq
    replied
    Moonstone, not sure how many times the trainer is already working with the horse per week or what your training budget is but could you swap some of the training rides for ground lessons? Learn better skills so that you are productive when you interact with your horse on your own. This doesn’t have to be lunging...you can go farther back to basics than that since a young fresh one can get a little wild on the lunge if you don’t know how to nip that behavior. I mean very basic yield to pressure exercises and controlling the feet.

    Then I think you need to get on more. And it’s 100% fine to do this with your trainer attached via lead or lunge line. Learn to just go with your horse (trainer won’t let him get away). Learn how to feel safe on a horse with his own motor. Because “my horse scooted and wouldn’t stop) does not mean forward canter to B and 3/4 of a circle. Won’t stop is like run the horse into the fence or get taken for laps around the arena behavior. Get on the lunge line and put a grab strap on your saddle and take it one step at a time from walk up to forward canter.

    There is also no shame in selling this horse and getting something more of a kick along type but horses will be horses and even the kick along ones could have a moment so these skills are things you should work on at some point.

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  • Moonstone721
    replied
    Originally posted by paw View Post
    Moonstone721 - I'm sorry. If you're done with this horse (and that's fine!), ask your husband if he'd rather be waiting on you hand and foot after you'd fallen off and (hevern forbid!) broken something. I really can't even imagine that attitude...

    That said - new barn, different feed (and 100% alfalfa - that's a bit much), new trainer; all are potential behavioral change triggers. Your horse may be feeling better (and stronger) and meanwhile, you're dealing with all sorts of non-horse-related stress. Time for you to take a breath.

    Maybe it's your time to just groom him. Work up to hand walking him, and then (but only when you're ready!) lunging. Slowly, carefully, in control. Do *not* pay attention to what anyone else is doing, or what you "should" be doing with the horse - focus on where you're comfortable. And if you're not comfortable, sell him, and get something that brings you joy.

    If your husband would rather see you stressed or hurt than sell the horse, I'm afraid you've got bigger problems.

    Feel free to PM me.
    Thanks so much. Yes, we think right now we're starting to see the horse I bought "version 2.0." He got his teeth done, he's in more consistent work, quality groceries, better farrier...he's probably feeling better than he ever has! Which of course is a good thing. I'm ultimately wanting something that can pack me around training level, and both our current and previous trainers have said that he has it in him, which is encouraging. But we're coming up on a year of ownership, and I guess I just thought we'd be there by now...perhaps not packing around with scores in the 70's, but I thought we'd be a bit further along. I know it's a marathon, not a sprint, but geeze!

    Trainer is not worried at all, she thinks he'll make a great horse for me, which is encouraging (but, has also said he will make a great horse for someone else too, if it turns out I'm just not feeling it). We've already discussed replacing a portion of the alfalfa, but trainer wants to give it to the end of the month and see how he does over the next few weeks. For now, we're going to change the bit (just a lateral switch to a different material/thickness, not going stronger) and see if he likes that.

    As for hubby, no, he is not too involved (he and my horse are best buddies when he does come out though!). And to clarify, he's not being a jerk about this at all -- kind of hard to convey on here. But basically, right now, he feels like we are paying a lot of money for someone else to ride my horse. And, I mean, technically he's *not wrong*, LOL. That person just happens to be a TRAINER who is riding him for MY benefit, which I think is where the disconnect is. Before lockdown, I was set to show someone else's horse Training 1+2 so I could move up confidently, and hubby could not wrap his head around paying to show someone else's horse. "You show the horse we bought. Isn't that why we bought a horse, so you could show it?" LOL. Well, yes. But of course it's not so black and white.

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  • Bending Line
    replied
    I have one who is fresh in the spring and becomes more horse than I want to handle, peaking in March/early April. Some of my strategies: I have a younger good rider who is willing to get on her occasionally; I have learned what set up she handles best when she is like this (she does better when all the horses are in the barn and she can working in the adjoining arena), and I stick with that instead of pushing ourselves; we do a ton of schooling figures and always walk a ton at the beginning so that she does not anticipate going right to work. Once she gets back to full grass and the weather warms up, she is generally quiet and good and we can expand what we do. The one advantage of the quarantine is that I have made myself ride her most days, and we are getting more consistent. But I am very sympathetic to how hard it is when you feel tense and they feel tense. If you can get some hours in with a true steady horse you might feel stronger/more equipped when you go back to the fresher horse. You might convince yourself that you would enjoy a steadier horse more, or you might convince yourself that by keeping your skills sharper on a dependable horse that you can get ready to handle the fresher horse and don'mind the challenge as much. FWIW, longeing does not help when this horse is fresh--she is more apt to do something explosive on the longe and I don't need to see that in dealing with my confidence. Finally, the difference between partial day turn out on grass and full day turn out on grass can be amazing in some of our horses--from fresh to completely steady/reliable. Try not to let March and April get you down!

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  • summerfield
    replied
    I am north of 30 now, and really have no desire to prove myself on anything truly difficult. As I got older, I really had to be honest with myself about what I was willing to deal with, and that included selling squirrely horses, yes.

    I still like riding horses that are forward, so it's a fine balance.

    What I have to do is really think. Am I riding a horse that's forward or sensitive, but I trust this horse not to do anything stupid? I think that's fine. Or do I feel truly unsafe? Is there a likely probability of me getting hurt? I don't want to do that anymore.

    I am leasing horses now that I am fine riding in the ring, but I wouldn't want to trail ride. I just don't have that confidence anymore. And you know what? That's fine, because I enjoy riding them. But if I was buying another horse? No way. I'd get something I can DO everything with. Why spend money on something you don't enjoy- get something FUN. Life is too short!

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  • BayBondGirl
    replied
    My condolences to you Moonstone, that's tough.

    Originally posted by Moonstone721 View Post
    It's even crossed my mind to sell him and look for something potentially a little older and/or slower, or at least a little more push-button, but hubby says no, this is the horse we bought, so this is the horse you ride.
    Um... Does hubby ride this horse? Unless the answer is "yes, we share him equally and hubby adores him", hubby does NOT get to dictate or control what horse is best for you or the one you ride or the one you own. Jeesh. I hope you make it very clear that, as mentioned above, your safety and well-being (physical AND mental) are the highest priority and if this horse does not promote that, he gets the boot. Maybe hubby needs the same threat too. (I'm mostly kidding)

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