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Prof vs. Ammy

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  • Prof vs. Ammy

    A few weeks ago my mare was being very heavy and just overall avoiding my aids (but not upset, spooky, hot, etc) during one of my lessons so my trainer got on her. He made her trot around, got her much softer and bending, etc. she was not happy with this and tried to kick out. I got on when he was done and she was an absolute terror for me. She let out a huge buck, would kick out, spook at everything, jumped everything like it was 4' and just was just out of control and totally unlike her. I am admittedly very gentle with her and tend to "ask" rather than tell. It honestly just seemed like she had a mental breakdown and could not deal with the ride she got. She is 7 so not a baby. I know she should be able to handle herself, but it was just very shocking considering that she is not like that at all. She seemed very worried and upset, even after I got off. The next day we just went for an easy trail ride and light hack in the ring and she was back to her normal self. Has this happened to anyone else? Any insight as to why it might have happened? Trainer wants her to get training rides a few days a week, but if she is going to be this upset, and have a 180 personality change, I'm not sure that would be best right now. I'm probably rambling an letting my overprotective parent ideas come out. :/

  • #2
    Your horse was letting you know she didn't like being made to behave by your trainer, and that she thinks she can convince you not to make her behave either.

    This is the kind of thing that can turn into a downward spiral pretty quickly. If I were you, I'd try to address it as quickly as possible, and that means a little "tough love" and sticking to your guns by calmly and methodically insisting that your mare do as you ask. Letting horses get out of work when they have little temper tantrums is not a good idea.

    If it makes you feel any better about it, horses, like children, generally are happier when they know what is expected of them, and where the boundaries are.
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


    • #3
      My first thought is, could she be in season?

      My second thought is, did you recently change the saddle or saddle pads?

      Mares can be sensitive brats but they at least let you know when they are not happy


      • #4
        I have had trainers that get on, get the job done, but make the horse very difficult for me to ride (too up, too hot, etc), and others that would get the job done but make the horse easier to ride for me. Both were very effective, but one turned the horse into their kind of ride, whereas the other one turned the horse into my kind of ride. As an ammy I much preferred the trainer that made him more ridable for me.

        That said, sometimes a horse just has to push through a problem and they are not going to like it. If you don't feel like you want to go that route and are willing to take longer to get to your end goal, then keep chipping away at it on your own. You will probably eventually get there, but it may take longer. If you want to push through sooner, you probably will have a ticked off horse when you make her really go to work. If you are doing it right, she should eventually respect that and get in line.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
          Your horse was letting you know she didn't like being made to behave by your trainer, and that she thinks she can convince you not to make her behave either.
          This exactly. Since it has worked on you once, you can expect her to do it with more conviction next time. This can turn from a fluke into a pattern so some trainer rides followed by trainer supervised rides would be a good bet. She needs to know that bad behavior results in more work, not less.


          • #6
            Often, when a trainer gets on to, well, train a horse, there can be some disagreements and protesting from certain types of horses. Why? Not because the trainer is mean or rough, but because the horse is being made to behave. For example, if a horse is having a particular problem, when the trainer is on he may exaggerate the correction - overbending, a little more pace than you might expect etc. This might tick off Ponykins, but if it's a good trainer, it will be productive and pay off. Horse will learn what is expected and what is acceptable.

            Here's an example - We have a lovely amateur horse in the barn that has really been around (USETs, Hunter Derbies, Juniors etc). He's very fancy. However, he's a bit of a curmudgeon. When his owner rides him, he has a VERY impressive bag of tricks. He trots on the way to the first jump in the ring, only does half a lead change, sucks back and won't pick up a good canter pace. Why? Because he knows he can and she won't correct him. Therefore, during his rides with myself or my boss, he doesn't get away with ANYTHING. Any resistance to going forward is met with stick and a poke with the spurs. That way, when she gets on him, he's tuned up, waving the white flag and ready to go win. Sure, he doesn't LIKE his training rides, but a horse needs to learn to behave and ones with certain personalities or attitudes may not always enjoy the road to good behavior.


            • #7
              It's hard to say what went on without seeing the ride, but I would be inclined to try regular training rides for a while and see where that takes you.

              I did have a trainer once who used to just get my horse way amped up. He is a hunter, and she would get him going more like a jumper (her focus). Whenever I rode him the day after her ride, he was almost too alert, too quick to over-respond, etc. That said, I do not think it did any harm to him and probably helped him in the end. She certainly sharpened him up, lol.


              • #8
                Sounds like a mare in season to me LOL! The kicking out at the leg can be indiciative of a sore back and ovaries. Ask me how I know .

                I just track my mare's heats and on the day or two before she's supposed to come in, I don't ask much from her, or schedule those as her off days.

                If the mare is seasoned and it was a one time deal, I'd chalk it up to being in heat. However, if she's younger and green, then some pro rides may be in order to take the wind out of her sails.
                Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                • #9
                  I think she got told what to do, which was go to work, and she took it out on you because she knew she could. If you want her to do her job without fuss, I agree with outside__line and lucassb, trainer rides followed by a few one-on-one sessions with your trainer talking you through it will help you establish with your mare that you are boss and she is not allowed to get away with that kind of behavior when asked to work and it will help you figure out how to keep the tune going.

                  When I have ridden some horses after my trainer, especially if my trainer is correcting bad behavior, they can be a bit sensitive the first ride or two. After all, that is the job of the pro -- make the horse listen when it is going "lalala, I can't hear you!" But it is our job as the rider to build on what our pro has done. No we don't want to make the horse more defensive, but build on what the pro has accomplished so that hopefully, it doesn't have to be such a hard ride next time.

                  Sometimes I have found that I get a bit defensive and shut down when the horse that was tuned still misbehaves or is more sensitive than I expected. But having the trainer talk me through the ride ultimately ends up with both me and the horse taking a breath and the end result being better – because usually it was something in my ride that was causing the misbehavior. I have found it is so important to keep myself relaxed and not feed into the temper tantrum so I can remain effective and work through the problem with my trainer’s guidance.

                  Also -- it is not outside the realm of possibility that your trainer making your mare work made her a bit sore in addition to angry. And she might be a bit sore and cranky for a bit, if you let your trainer ride her more regularly, until she gets used to using her body correctly.


                  • #10
                    I agree with the majority here. She was pissed that someone made her behave and took it out on you!

                    Since you don't indicate that you were concerned with how your pro rode her, I don't think she was hurt or confused -- just angry!!

                    I'd continue with the pro rides and lots of supervised rides, as well. If you can't be the tough guy (which is fine -- a lot of us aren't cut out for that role) than someone needs to be. She'll learn to deal with it and will probably be happier in the end that she knows what is to be expected of her.

                    So in summary, her behavior would indicate to me that she needs MORE pro rides, not fewer.


                    • #11
                      I agree with the others-- the mare didn't like being made to toe the line.

                      Also, your pro didn't quite finish the job. By the end of the ride, your mare needed to be saying "Yes... and would you like fries with that?" In that frame of mind, your horse is ready to do as anyone asks, not figure out which boss she must obey and which she does not.

                      How to fix the problem? A number of ways can work.

                      More short but firm pro rides, more often. The mare needs to give up many times in a row.

                      A pro ride that has that last bit of "finish" to it, where the mare isn't just obedient but docile. This takes much more time and skill than the strategy above. It really *isn't* the strategy for many mares.

                      After the pro gets your mare compliant, you get on and push those buttons he just tuned up. That lets your mare know that the rules don't change when a new person gets on.

                      You don't have to create big physical challenges for you or the mare if you are skilled at creating the right mental challenges and rewards for her. In answer to your question, the person who gives the horse that "thinking" ride is the pro rather than the ammy.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        You said the mare was being heavy and avoiding the aids before the trainer hopped on? If your mare is not normally like that, if she is usually light and responsive. She may be hurting somewhere or maybe as others suggested inseason. In my mind that would explain her reaction to the trainer making her work if she was hurting and still PO when you got back on.
                        Just my 2 cents
                        Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Monarch View Post
                          You said the mare was being heavy and avoiding the aids before the trainer hopped on? If your mare is not normally like that, if she is usually light and responsive. She may be hurting somewhere or maybe as others suggested inseason. In my mind that would explain her reaction to the trainer making her work if she was hurting and still PO when you got back on.
                          Just my 2 cents
                          That's what I was thinking.


                          • #14
                            I have never had a horse be naughtier for its owner after I got on to help out, so that part seems odd.

                            I would agree with the minority that something was up with this horse; in heat, sore or something. Who knows, maybe she rolled on a rock and has a bruise where the saddle goes?

                            When I horse I know is acting out of character, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and assess why rather than force them to suck it up. forcing them to suck it up is WHY horses try to get out of work as they develope a negative association with being ridden (they may not remember WHY they feel negatively about being ridden once the initial issue was resolved, they just know they do).

                            If it was my horse, I would have the trainer get on the horse a day when it was being ok, and see what happened and what they thought, then go from there.
                            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                            • #15
                              I've had some pros ride my horse from time to time -my regular trainer & he got along fabulously - she is a demanding rider but does so softly, not agressively unless she has to be which w/ him was rare. I had an ammy borrow him for adult eqs & medals - she was a more aggressive rider and got him amped up. He had rarely if ever bucked after a jump but started w/ that rider... My horse is goosey if jabbed w/ a spur & he's kicked out a couple of times.. I would imagine your trainer has a much stronger leg, maybe goosed mare w/ spur once or twice and she remembers it when you got on. This can be a problem w/ some riders & their trainers... Me I'm at the point where the need for spurs and whip to get a good trot is nice...slow & plodding is fine w/ me right now... so for a someone inexperience or timid rider having a trainer leg up your horse to the point where it's scary for you isn't always a great thing - have that discussion and be frank w/ trainer about it -that way maybe the two of you can work on a training program


                              • #16
                                Sorry, but if I'm going to pay someone to train my horse, I expect said horse to be better for me when I get back on, not a holy terror. There are plenty of people to chose from out there who will take your money to ride your horse.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Gnomeland;6615004
                                  ... my mare was being very heavy and just overall avoiding my aids...

                                  ...He made her trot around, got her much softer and bending, etc. she was not happy with this and tried to kick out. I got on when he was done and she was an absolute terror for me...

                                  ...I am admittedly very gentle with her and tend to "ask" rather than tell. It honestly just seemed like she had a mental breakdown and could not deal with the ride she got...

                                  ...The next day we just went for an easy trail ride and light hack in the ring and she was back to her normal self...

                                  ...letting my overprotective parent ideas come out.
                                  It's not your child (even tho she behaved as badly as any sulking teenager reacting to an attemt at discipline) and she was not having a "mental breakdown". Just a reaction to actually being made to respond correctly to the aids instead of ambling around picking and choosing which ones she cares to respond to and knowing you won't make her.

                                  The clue is in the fact you noted the trainer had her going softly. Mare was not happy but did not try to unload him, she waited for you to get on before she pulled that stunt. Likewise OF COURSE she was happy on that trail ride the next day because she did not have to do anything. Trainer cannot fix anything in a single ride and is right to suggest follow up training rides to get her more suitable for you. The idea is she will learn to be more accepting of the aids from him and then transfer that obdiance to you-and that is going to take time.

                                  You need to rethink the obediance to the aids is optional approach if you want to go horse show or do any serious riding.

                                  A little blunt but this kind of thing can get you in a jam...what if she spooks, spins and fails to stop or steer because she does not feel like it? Or choses to leave long and weak refusing to add another stride to the base into a combination? Or does not see the need to go near the roll top? You can't pick and choose when to enforce proper response to the aids with a reactive prey animal, they have to trust you and know obediance is not optional. Or you and they can get hurt...and you will waste a bunch of money on an inconsistent horse that has been taught they can be inconsistent.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.