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Teaching lessons for the first time, Full Circle moment...LONG

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  • Teaching lessons for the first time, Full Circle moment...LONG

    I just posted my story on Fugly, and will give some background.

    Was never really around horses as a kid. Always loved them, but didnt know anyone that had a horse. Did a few lessons and rides at the local dude ranch, but that was it. Never really learned how to ride or deal w/horses correctly. Did not do lessons constantly at all.

    8 1/2 yrs ago, I saw a tiny ad in the paper for horses to lease. I called and leased a 6 yr old paint, PJ.

    I worked a lot of hours in retail, so was off during the week, worked weekends and holidays. It was a very small barn, so I was ALWAYS alone.

    PJ put up w/me. I went out twice a week and was able to do what I wanted. I used their tack, and slowly bought my own stuff. I was able to trail ride him around county roads. He rarely faught me. Things were great, but after about a year, the people decided to sell their property and horses.

    They asked if I wanted to buy him, I said no, too expensive, horses are prone to colic, etc. I was really green, and owning a horse seemed REALLY scary. Once I was home, my hubby said "do what makes you happy". Honestly, I thought he would be as scared to OWN a horse as me, but he wasnt.

    Less than a week, PJ was moved to a bigger boarding barn, I had my FIRST horse at 32 yrs old.

    Things were good for a short time, but went downhill fast.

    I didnt know any better, but I had always treated PJ like a dog. Trail rides became out of the question, cuz PJ would run me back to the barn. Rides became inside the outdoor arena, but that became scary since he would run me to the gate whenever he felt like it. He would grab the bit, and all I could do was hold on and not fall off.

    W/in a month, my wonderful horse became a dangerous animal. I had NO idea why or what had changed. Well meaning boarders tried to help me, but were just too nice to me. They were too nice, and while giving me help, I think were scared to hurt my feelings.

    Once I got PJ, the other gelding would run to HIS mares. THis just PISSED OFF PJ. To go to the barn, I had to walk up a steep ditch. PJ started to wait until I was on the hill, and would rear and shake me off the leadrope. Once loose, he would take off and run around his pasture, trying to get HIS mares back. He was never in any danger of traffic since his pasture was at the back of the property.

    I remember like this was YESTERDAY, the LAST time he got away, I just shut down. Lots of other boarders were running towards him w/grain to help catch him. This time, I was just SOOO frustrated. I went back to the barn and sat down in the dirt, and just ugly cried. I just lost it. Honestly, I was soo frustrated, had someone offered me $10 for my horse, I would have taken it, and just walked away from horses! I was sooo close to just quitting. It wasnt fun at all and PJ was really scaring me.

    Thankfully, a trainer was there, and he said "if you dont get help, your horse will kill you"!

    It was the first time that I was smacked in the face w/reality of the situation.

    I put my horse in training the next day, but honestly, it was ME that needed to be trained. I learned to be the horse NAZI.

    W/in about a month, PJ and I were a team. I was his leader and he respected me.

    I stayed there for a few years, then moved to a nicer and bigger barn. So....no one was around to know PJ and I back in those early very dark months.

    In fact, when I tell people that PJ used to rear and strike at me, no one believes me. Now, PJ is the most gentle and sweet horse. It was never his fault, he was just being a horse. I was the one that allowed it by never earning his respect.

    Since then, we have done several Endurance rides. I take him all over and trail ride. I've done a ton of solo rides. We have worked cattle.

    I was at a Tim Boyer clinic about month ago, and a lady on a very green retired racehorse started to ride next to me. She said I looked familiar, she did too, so we started trying to figure out where we knew each other from, did we do certain trail rides together, etc.

    Like a normal horse person, it wasnt until she said her other horses names, that it totally clinked. Why do we alway remember the horses names more than the people's? LOL! She was in the next stall for the first two months I had owned PJ.

    She was one of the boarders that tried to "help" me, but I really had no clue. She was only at that barn for two months while her farmette was being finished. She left before I gained control and respect of PJ, so she only saw us at our worst.

    So, at this clinic, we caught up, and she said, she had thought about me a few times.....

    Wondered if I was still into horses and if PJ had ever seriously hurt or killed me, lol.

    LOL! It still makes me laugh (NOW). Since we got reconnected, we have met up and gone trail riding several times. PJ is the seasoned, steady eddy, for her new green retired race horse.

    Today, my BO asked if I wanted to start to teach lessons to beginner riders. I was sooo flattered I have three lessons on Tuesday.

    I have taken lessons for years and tons of clinics. I am really a horse NAZI. Will have the kids do groundwork for awhile, teaching them to disenage, etc, the normal stuff.

    I have given lessons to relatives and friends kids, many times, so I am not totally w/out ideas.

    I like telling kids to lift their toes, instead of drop their heels. I have found that is easier for them to do.

    Any games or patterns for lessons that work great and are fun? These are two of the BO's kids and one of their friends. They have done many lessons before, so are not totally new, but still beginner. Two are 10ish, and one is 7.

    Anywho, when I was asked to teach lessons, it really brought back how far I've come!! I can still remember sitting on the ground just crying over "WHY DOES MY HORSE HATE ME!?!".

    Just remember, if you are ever overwhelmed, find someone to help you. There are so many knowledgable people. I so thankful that the trainer just happened to be there during that time. I knew there was a problem, but had no idea how to deal w/it.

    At that time, I thought training was just for dressage or jumping. I thought what was going on w/PJ was different that what you went to a trainer for, see, I was sooooo green back then. It didnt occur to me to ask for help.

    BTW - I am not afraid of being too nice whenever I see a horse walking over a newbie. I will just go introduce myself and tell them what they are doing wrong. So far, I have never pissed off anyone. Everyone has been extremely thankful for the help.

    So, if you see a newbie struggling, dont be afraid of hurting their feelings. I am not saying that wont happen, but so far, I am batting 100. We have a lot of 60ish year woman at our barn, and they all LOVE me since they know that I will always help them if they are having issues.

    Today, my horsey world came full circle BTW, PJ is the best horse. Once I was his leader, he is a perfect example of a well behaved horse. He spent most of the day giving pony rides to a bunch of kids at the barn.

    Clear rules will make your horse so much happier, and not to mention, when you have control, horses are FUN!!

    Not sure why, but since my story got lots of positive comments on Fugly, I felt like sharing on a bigger stage. I had a VERY fun day and am very flattered.

    Have a great weekend!

    The former dangerous & terror of a horse that turned in to just a really good boy once his owner (me) was trained!

    I know that trainer's letter to "SUE" is making the rounds. That was why I posted my story on Fugly. I used to be SUE, but you dont have to continue to be like that.
    If by chance, SUE" reads Coth, and may see this, dont get hurt or mad at his response. It is dead on, get some help. I promise, Horses should and will be fun IF you have their respect. It really isnt hard, just need to learn how and be CONSISTANT!

    Sadly, the fact is that you are not alone, there are MANY people dealing w/your same problem. Dont be afraid to get help, or you will get hurt!!
    Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!

  • #2
    Just remember, if you are ever overwhelmed, find someone to help you. There are so many knowledgable people.
    . . .
    At that time, I thought training was just for dressage or jumping. I thought what was going on w/PJ was different that what you went to a trainer for, see, I was sooooo green back then. It didnt occur to me to ask for help.
    Absolutely right. I had the same problem - also with a little paint pony, hmmm . There is just no substitute for a good teacher who can show you how to handle a horse - what a confidence builder!

    But you know what I think happens too often these days? Instead of getting a live person to help, who is right there seeing the horse and the handler and is able to say what to do right that minute - people get a video.

    Which is sometimes worse for the person than going it alone, because of course, it's the exceptional person who can learn to train a horse from a video; and so often the person becomes resistant to accepting real-life help that isn't what the video trainer advises.
    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


    • #3
      I had a lady want to buy my super sweet mare about a year ago. Lady was a total newbie and thought she was buying a big dog. Including wanting to use a dog leash with handles as a lead rope! We tried to teach her, begged her to work with a trainer. She didn't want to, was going to figure it all out by herself. She also had 4 little kids!!

      In the end I couldn't do it. I could see the train coming down the track. I told her I decided to keep the mare.

      I have no doubt she went and bough a horse somewhere. I sure hope they are all okay, wherever they are