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Is this truly dangerous behavior?

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  • Is this truly dangerous behavior?

    Hi all,

    I'm a long time reader, first time poster I was hoping I might be able to get some advice.

    I've been riding for 25 years, and have competed a fair bit, and had excellent trainers when I was in college (where I also rode IHSA). As a kid, I rode anything that would let me get on it. I'm now in my mid-30's and I've gotten less brave--I no longer jump the big stuff, but still ride well enough to ride sensitive or hot horses.

    I just moved to a new state for work where I know few people and a colleague recently asked me if I wanted to ride her (large) pony for her a few times a week. She said he had been out of work for a while, and was a bit green, unbalanced, and unfit (despite being 13 and the fact that he was previously used in a lesson program). Of course, I jumped at the chance. The problem is that I think I'm afraid of him, and I'm trying to sort out what I should do.

    The first time I rode him, in the very beginning, he spooked badly (at...a shadow?) and tore across the ring with me, bucking and he ran through where another horse was being lunged. He then bucked through 5 canter transitions and later nearly hit a wall (he doesn't steer well, and will grab the bit). He also tried to walk out of the ring through a door into the aisle with me sitting on him. I rode him a second time, and he was better, until he decided to trot aiming at the wall, literally nearly running over his owner who got flung aside by his head and neck. I feel terrible about that, but was totally not expecting it, and then he had no interesting in listening to me once he was on that trajectory. This is a horse you have be vigilant on at all times.

    To me, this all strikes me as weird, dangerous behavior, not just run of the mill "the horse needs a tune up"-type stuff. I showed a friend a picture of this round non-flashy pony and she laughed and called me wimpy. But my gut is telling me this behavior is not good; I can't remember the last time I was anxious about flatting a new or green horse. His owner has slightly less difficulty, but she is also somewhat wary of him and perhaps she is not asking him for as much as I naturally do. Am I being reasonable, or have I just been lucky to have not encountered this behavior much in my riding experience?

    I'd appreciate any advice/words of wisdom! I'm torn between an opportunity to ride at a lovely barn with a nice colleague, and the gut feeling I have that this might be a recipe for me getting hurt.

    Thanks!
    LB

  • #2
    Can you start him back doing some longeing/groundwork?

    Comment


    • #3
      Did he get longed before you rode him? He doesn't sound dangerous as much as he sounds spoiled and pushy... however, if you feel uncomfortable riding him there is probably a reason. He sounds like he's a bit of a pig. I'd bet there's a reason that otherwise sound pony has been out of work...

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that he sounds like a bit of a pig
        I would say just be wary of him, like his owner, and don't do anything you're uncomfortable with.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not a lunge person at all, but in this instance I would be for sure. He WAS in a riding school and most of the time those horses are worth their weight in gold. Could be he got sour and then started some of the not so nice behaviour while in the school. But I agree with everyone else, lunge until he can get legged up. Also if you can longline I'd have him all over the farm.

          Just be careful and if it's something that will ruin your confidence it's not worth it. Most of us are less brave as we get older, that's quite normal. But enjoying riding as we get older is what it's all about.

          Terri
          COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

          "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would start by lunging a doing groundwork, maybe some line driving. Sometimes with schoolie type ponies they are so resentful of bigger riders, becuase the bigger riders only get on to punish them. Try to bond and make it fun for him, it sounds to me that hejust wants to get away and out of the arena any way he can!!!

            We have a neat medium pony that is really bad for some people. He's super good for me and his tiny owner. I had one of the tweens hop on to school him one day, just keeping him tuned up, and I wanted to see him go with a slightly bigger kid. He threw big kid in the dirt in 2.2 seconds!!!! Now this is a pony who faithfully has been packing a 7 year old around at horseshows for almost two years!

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like a naughty little pony to me.

              Are you comfortable raising holy hell with him? Knowing and schooling a few of these types, I've learned that most just want to see how tough you really are. If you get after them, soundly, a time or two they often revert back to go good pony mode.
              Amanda

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RileysMom View Post

                I'm now in my mid-30's and I've gotten less brave--I no longer jump the big stuff, but still ride well enough to ride sensitive or hot horses.

                I The problem is that I think I'm afraid of him, and I'm trying to sort out what I should do.
                I have highlighted the two most important things you have written. There is a difference between having the ability to ride sensitive/hot horses and the ability to ride very naught horses. If I were you , I would be honest with yourself and the owner and make the decision that this is not the right fit for either of you. If you are afraid (even a little bit) you will not, when its most important, be able to have that go for broke come to jesus meeting it sounds like this pony is going to need. You run the risk of getting hurt or shattering your declining confidence. There will be another horse to ride, don't feel like this is your only chance to ride.

                Moreover, it sounds like the owner is asking you to solve her problem. She may need to pay someone to do that. Trust me when I tell you , the older you get the more fleeting confidence can become. I no longer ride problem horses because Ijust don't have it in me to be a stunt jockey any more. It makes me sad that part of me is gone, but it is and I need to be honest about it.

                Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You do not owe it to the world, your colleague, or anything or anyone else to ride every rank POS in the universe. This is someone else's pony with an attitude problem, not Totilas that someone bought for you for $15 million that you have to figure out how to ride to get tour country a gold medal.

                  Toss it back and go ride something worthwhile.

                  For what its worth I know someone who got dumped off a lesson pony she was schooling and it has been endless harangue with sevwral surgeriea, workers comp blah blag blah for YEARS.

                  Who needs it?
                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                  Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds like a pony who needs a CTJ moment. If he is making you uncomfortable, don't ride him! You don't need to make yourself feel that way. Riding is supposed to be fun.
                    http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When In Doubt, Don't.

                      Your gut is telling you something. You'd do well to heed it.

                      It's not your job to retrain her rank pony. Move on.
                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I personally would go back to square one with this pony. I am sure he has learned some bad habits if he is considered green and was used in a lesson program at one time. Not a great combo most of the times. If the steering and brakes are rusty or nonexistent then he would be going back to kindergarten and learning to long line. Also the fact that he is out of shape and green doesn't help either. Lots of ground work to fit him up, build a repore and gain some respect is what he need first. Whether that comes from you or someone else is another question. If you are even questioning that you may be scared or intimidated by him you should definitely leave the beginning rides to someone else. It is not fair to you or the pony. Of course is usually goes without saying but check the tack fit as well. Find something that you can ride and feel confident on and maybe after 30-60 days with a pro you can school the pony. In the end it is just not worth it. It doesn't sound like a fun ride anyway. Good luck
                        Worth A Shot Farm
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                        • #13
                          It sounds like this pony has learned some very naughty behavior and so far has been successful at it. I think everyone has had good thoughts. My 2 cents would be to maybe try lounging/longlining him, get his respect on the ground, get yourself comfortable with him on the ground. Then if need be and your comfortable yourself have that CTJ moment.

                          I had the opportunity to co-own a wonderful OTTB who had learned all kinds of dangerous behavior from his previous owner, which we didn't find out until our vet walked in the barn saw him and said "OH!", then she told us what she knew/witnessed. This horse needed to be lounged at least 20 minutes before every ride, he would/could spook at the littlest thing, rear just like Hi-Ho Silver and take a step backwards to save himself, and buck like he was in the rodeo. This horse terrified me but foolishly I stuck with him because no one else would get neat him, the co-owner flat out told me, she would never ride him. I stuck with him for 2 years and the last year we started to have CTJ moments, it made a difference, he still tried stuff but it was better than it used to be. He ended up being a 3rd level horse before the co-owner and I got in an arguement.

                          I guess after that long story, my main point is, it isn't worth it, there are too many nice horses out there. If the owner is wary of him, she wasn't been very honest with you. Good luck! Stay safe!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                            When In Doubt, Don't.

                            Your gut is telling you something. You'd do well to heed it.

                            It's not your job to retrain her rank pony. Move on.
                            This I agree with unless trying to lunge him first makes him significantly better to the point that you feel safe. I made the mistake of carrying on with a horse that was a terrible match which my gut told me from day one. Instead of listening, I tried to carry on, got injured and had my confidence severely rattled before giving up and finding him a better home. A year later, I am still working to regain my nerve.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OP - I would move on from this pony - his problems, whatever they are are not yours, you aren't getting paid to fix them. Put the word around and you will find the opportunity to ride something that will be more fun.

                              And having been down your path w/ one that I bought, and had the same sense, it took a broken foot and cast to make me really decide I didn't want to get back on him...

                              We don't get "less brave" by the way - we get a bigger sense of self preservation!!
                              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Sounds like a pony being a naughty pony. Longing him before riding him would help get any excess energy out. Bitting him up so you have control if he tries to buck/bolt would help. Also, riding this type is a totally different/opposite type of ride from a hot/sensitive horse. You have to be really strong with this type, where as you have to be soft with a hot/sensitive type.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Don't forget to have his teeth checked, saddle fit, etc. I agree with others that you and your friend may be overmatched.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Something similar happened to me last summer. Because I don't make a lot of money and don't own my own horse, I had been riding almost anything I could get my hands on. I was given the opportunity to school a 3 year old Connemara pony - very fancy and very green. I was thrilled with the opportunity until said pony bucked me off hard and I broke my arm. Not crazy behavior, just typical greeny. I had to swallow my pride and realize A.) that I just wasn't a strong enough rider anymore to deal with a bucking bronco and B.) that, unlike when I was a kid, at 50, some things weren't worth getting hurt over. I am now leasing a nice horse and am much happier and safer, but my pride and confidence really took a hit. Good luck!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have been riding for 30 years, training for probably 20 (my own, not for others.) I've had the gamut of horses including multiple OTTB's and wild mustangs at some point or another!

                                      I was schooling a pony with some issues. My gut kept telling me something but my brain thought I would train through it. In 8 weeks he tossed me 3 times and the 3rd, I ended up in the hospital for a week. I couldn't ride for almost a year and now, almost 2 years later, I do everything but still have pain and muscle issues.

                                      My advice? Don't bother!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                                        I have highlighted the two most important things you have written. There is a difference between having the ability to ride sensitive/hot horses and the ability to ride very naught horses. If I were you , I would be honest with yourself and the owner and make the decision that this is not the right fit for either of you. If you are afraid (even a little bit) you will not, when its most important, be able to have that go for broke come to jesus meeting it sounds like this pony is going to need. You run the risk of getting hurt or shattering your declining confidence. There will be another horse to ride, don't feel like this is your only chance to ride.

                                        Moreover, it sounds like the owner is asking you to solve her problem. She may need to pay someone to do that. Trust me when I tell you , the older you get the more fleeting confidence can become. I no longer ride problem horses because Ijust don't have it in me to be a stunt jockey any more. It makes me sad that part of me is gone, but it is and I need to be honest about it.

                                        Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
                                        This.
                                        Sounds like a naughty pony that needs a strong and confident rider. If you are even the slightest bit nervous (which you have admitted you are) he will take total advantage.
                                        Find another ride.

                                        Comment

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