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When to call it quits?

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  • Original Poster

    I don't blame him. I knew the first one was my fault, and the second one could have been prevented, as well. It's not the first time I've made a mistake and won't be the last. Nowhere did I say he's at fault.

    As to whether or not he "bucked," moot point, as I was the only one here who was there. I've fallen plenty of times, and I've never declared myself to be "bucked" off. Sorry if it bothers you that I use that term.


    • #22
      I agree with the others -- 2 falls is not enough reason to throw in the towel.

      But my radar did lock on to the word "fear" when explaining the second fall.

      IMO, none of the 3 possible events was fear-worthy. If he is a ditz who is scared of his own shadow, then you will always have to worry about the next spook. And the worry could cause the next spook.

      for sure I would begin a BIG desensitizing program. Walking on tarps which crinkle, walking calmly beside flapping flags -- anything you can think of to teach him not to sweat the small stuff. Avoiding such scenarios does him no favors.

      2 excellent trainers have taught me that pointing a horse at a scary thing is not the way to handle fear. Instead walk the horse straight by it. The first time, let him be 6' away, then 4' then 2'. Do not let him look at it, that tells him it is scary. So counter bend hom so his shoulder is closest to the offending object.

      Once he was walked by it several times, then move away to work elsewhere in the ring. After several minutes, ask him to trot by it (again counter bent.) If he is still sensitive to it, then start again with the 'walk-by's'.

      But do not get off until he can walk by it calmly; even if he needs to stay 8' away to accomplish this. Then pat him, make a big fuss over his incredible bravery and call it a day.
      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


      • #23
        I have to agree about the terminology. There ate horses who buck because they're malicious and those who may occasionally buck when spooked. If you come off when he spooks its different than if he's maliciously bucking you off in corners or after jumps.


        • #24
          Sounds to me like your old instructor is projecting. She's presumably your former instructor for a reason, yes? If you're not worried, and you're trainer's not worried, and you like the horse...keep going.


          • #25
            Originally posted by big_red_ottb View Post
            Sounds to me like your old instructor is projecting. She's presumably your former instructor for a reason, yes? If you're not worried, and you're trainer's not worried, and you like the horse...keep going.
            I agree with the above....but I have to ask...if horsie only has about 120 days total over 2 yrs under saddle then what have you been riding? Because if you are not fit you may need to work on that as you may have a weak core.
            Try to remember he is a greenie and I would never drop the stirrups on a green bean cause that alone could set them off. Always have to think and be "on guard" on the green ones....not nervous just aware they are inexperienced.
            Happily retired but used to be:


            • #26
              Also depends in how high regard you hold your former trainer.

              IF they were a largely respected individual, and IF they knew the horse well enough, and IF you've heard the opinion from more than one person that the horse is not right for you, I wouldn't rule out the idea of really taking the time to think if the match is working out...

              If it's a somewhat uninformed observation, forget about anyone else and focus on how YOU feel and how your horse is doing.
              "You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!"


              • #27
                Originally posted by Bethe Mounce View Post
                Ride horses? Then ya fall off.


                never ever do that with any horse......just get off.
                Quoting two points of the above. Number one, horses and coming off go hand in hand. And secondly, horses aren't couches, get off when you're done.
                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                • #28
                  Does your old trainer want your horse? It wouldn't be the first time someone used the tactic. If she offers to take your dangerous horse off your hands run.

                  He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                  • #29
                    If 23 is too old to fall off, I must be ready for the nursing home

                    Your horses spook and do unpredictable things. If that bothers you, this horse may not be a match. Otherwise... it's just part of riding.
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                    • #30
                      First I want to say that I agree with others who have said that it doesn't sound like this horse is dangerous.

                      But the biggest issue in your post is the concussion you sustained.

                      Your brain is injured and you cannot afford to risk another concussion. You need to take some time off of riding--like maybe a few weeks to a few months, depending on what your neurologist advises.

                      The science on this is pretty overwhelming now.

                      I will try to hunt up a recent thread on concussions and brain injuries from riding. So many COTHers shared their experiences. You should really read it--don't let the thread title scare you off.

                      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                      A helmet saved my life.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by jenarby View Post
                        Hmmm...well if you are not afraid of him and it doesn't sound like he is purposefully bucking you off (sounds like a couple of random "baby" moments).....
                        Any chance your old trainer has her eye on him? Just playing devil's advocate.
                        My thought too! Where is the devil with horns icon?
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                        • #32
                          Why did you leave the previous instructor? Do you think this conversation is a way for this person to work their way back in?


                          • #33
                            Horseproblem has the best point, how bad your concussion is/was is the relevant point, IMO. Frankly when I read you are still nauseous it scared me a little. Sorry, but I'd listen to those around you and digest their concern and have another discussion with your doctor, who really is the relevant opinion giver in this case.


                            • #34
                              I think your former trainer has a lot of nerve calling you up and telling you to get rid of your horse... I'm almost exactly twice your age. My OTTB bucked, spooked and otherwise dislodged me repeatedly over the first two years I owned her. (I came off twice in the same ride once.)... not to mention the times that she didn't get me off and hurt me anyways. (like hitting me in the face hard enough to crack the middle of my nose and jaw.) Last weekend she went in her first flat class... and flat ran away with me... as in, full on race horse speed for about 10 minutes... embarrassing... anyways, my point is that no one has ever told me I should sell her, or that I am too old to own a horse like her. (super athletic and a little quirky) I'd be more than a little annoyed at someone who did. I don't need some jackass to erode my confidence... I need ever bit of confidence I can muster when I climb on that mare.


                              • #35
                                I hope you replace the helmet you were wearing. I would also spring for a better model since this one didn't seem to do it's job.


                                • #36
                                  P.S. - plyometrics is an excellent cross training strengthening exercise for riding. Wait until you're not nauseous though.


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Meadow36 View Post
                                    I hope you replace the helmet you were wearing. I would also spring for a better model since this one didn't seem to do it's job.
                                    Either that or it did an excellent job and she'd be even worse off or dead without it. But yeah, it's done what it was supposed to, time for a new one.

                                    And be aware that not all doctors may be aware of the current information on concussions in terms of treatment and so on. I would expect folks here in Pittsburgh to be just due to the fact that for a couple of years you couldn't turn around without someone mentioning Sidney Crosby and there being a lot of concussion research being done locally, but from talking to people with various other problems, it does seem like the latest news can take a while to spread. So it's worth doing your own research and then asking your doctor specific questions if what your doctor is recommending is different from the current recommendations.


                                    • #38
                                      I am not going to decide whether your horse is dangerous or not, suitable or not, or whether you are a capable enough rider to deal with a strong, sensitive horse, who has proven it can seriously dislodge it's rider.

                                      I am a trainer, I have fallen more times than I can count, I have also saved myself more times than that during a "baby" moment.

                                      The whole point for my response is to encourage you to listen to these concerns and evaluate the situation realistically.

                                      How strong and experienced a 23 year old rider are you?

                                      Have you been riding quieter, more reliable horses in between you falls to regain your balance, timing and confidence?

                                      How many training rides is the new trainer providing and are there any shenanigans? How does the horse feel to you after she rides it?

                                      I don't think your former trainer is trying to "get" your horse, nor do a I think a professional is being too cautious, when they discuss things like suitability with a client.

                                      Outside of these 2 scary falls, what other behaviors, sessions or moments have reared it's head, that may make the situtaion seem inappropriate.
                                      Last edited by mrsbradbury; Sep. 23, 2012, 11:56 AM. Reason: typo


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by RLastInstallment View Post
                                        I feel like I'm not done with him yet.

                                        I do think I need to do more to strengthen my core as we start jumping higher.
                                        You havent even started with this horse. ... You like him, hes yours, you're comfortable with him -- listen to that.

                                        If you/both were My student, Id back you up a good bit -- lots of trail miles --- and 2' courses and gymnastic exercises until you have them nailed! then .... start adding in some heights and varieties.

                                        He has to be consistant and capable at 2' couses first.
                                        He has to be the same on trail work -- you' be doing a lot of ring work exercises while out there -- but you'd both be having fun and building your communication with each other.
                                        Last edited by brightskyfarm; Sep. 23, 2012, 12:06 PM.
                                        IN GOD WE TRUST
                                        OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by RLastInstallment View Post
                                          I just got a call from a former instructor. She'd informed me that the mother of one of her clients had told her about my recent fall off of my horse (which I'll detail later). She was calling to check up on me and wanted to let me know that she was concerned. She then went on to say that I need to reconsider maintaining ownership of the Thoroughbred that bucked me off.

                                          She said that, at my age (23), I don't need to be falling off, and told me about her accident recently where she pulled a horse over on top of herself, and it made her reconsider her programme, which is a very, very safety conscious programme.

                                          This fall is my second within the span of six weeks. Last time, my horse over-jumped a 2' vertical (cleared the standards), and just wasn't ready for THAT much of an effort. My leg came back pretty far, which scared him, and I landed in a bit of a heap on his back, so he took off bucking. I almost saved myself, but, alas, it wasn't to be. I landed flat on my back (ouch). To my credit, I did give him a great release

                                          I put him in training with my instructor for a month afterwards while I recovered from back pain. I thought he'd benefit from some time with a professional.

                                          This past Thursday, it was a freak occurance that got me. We just finished up our ride, and he was a total star the entire time. Often, when we're cooling off, I'll drop my stirrups. I do it all the time, and thought nothing of it as I pulled my feet out. As soon as I dropped them, my instructor flung her arm up into the air. My horse leapt straight into the air, and darting off to the side. He was wearing an EZ Boot (he lost a shoe) and at some point tore it off - we're not sure if he spooked because he stepped on it or tore it off after the spook. Ultimately, we're not sure what happened - if it was the stirrups, the sudden movement, or the boot.

                                          This time, I rolled, but still managed to hit my head. Went to the ER with blurred vision in my left eye and nausea. CT scan showed no bleeding, but showed a dark spot (which I got an MRI for).

                                          I've owned this horse for two years. Between the two of us (illness & schedule on my part, injury on his), he's got about 120 days under saddle. I'm just getting into riding him more often and we're making great strides. He's a lot of horse, I knew when I got him - he's high energy and very fit - but he's never given me problems before, other than some baby moments in the canter depart. I've never felt unsafe on him. I consider myself to be a strong rider with good balance, and I don't feel as though I'm over-horsed.

                                          Aside from these two falls, I haven't fallen off in two years. I'm a little confused as to why my former instructor says I can't "keep" falling off, as though I do it all the time. I understand her concern, of course. She's a new mom (well, her little boy is 2), plus she just had a bad fall, so I see where she's coming from. My instructor has said, as well, that if he does it once more I should move on.

                                          So, do you think it's time to call it quits on a horse that has bucked me off twice in the past two months? Once for sure out of fear, the other time...? We really don't know what happened.

                                          I should add, this last time, he'd had some time off and I did not lunge him since we were only going to walk/trot and work on some lateral work, so he had a lot of pent up energy. Lesson learned on my part.

                                          I think people frequently underestimate just how important suitability is to creating good partnerships between horse and rider.

                                          A suitability deficit is not something you can 'fix' without a great deal of skill and good judgement.

                                          And a severe suitability deficit is not something that can be overcome, even with the highest skills--therefore, the exercise of good judgement would suggest that enough is enough.

                                          At your horse's WORST, you should be able to handle him, without even NEEDING to be on the top of your game.

                                          From your description, it doesn't sound like you are set up to deal with a green horse in your present training environment.

                                          An Easy Boot? Trainers flinging their arms at random moments? Letting your guard down by dangling your feet out of the stirrups on a regular basis? Sorry, that's three strikes--I'm reading DANGER, DANGER, DANGER. You think it's incredible that someone suggests you're in over your head.

                                          This doesn't mean you can't become a good rider, or that your horse sucks--it means that nothing leads to injury or wrecks a good horse faster than a severe mismatch coupled with bad judgement.

                                          I would certainly reassess EVERYTHING at this point (the horse, AND the trainer), and look around for a better way to do things.