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Spin off: Teaching your spouse or SO to ride without divorce!

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  • Spin off: Teaching your spouse or SO to ride without divorce!

    There really should be a how-to book on this subject. Taking off from this thread below:


    I know for myself, I would love to hear some pointers on how to get your non-horsey(or horsey) SO to ride AND listen to instruction. As well as the funny trials and tribulations that you have experienced. I'm sure there's a few out there.

    I tried this summer, oh how I tried. But he was not too receptive. I was met with back talk, and a story about how he broke his uncles stallion by whispering in his ear and petting him! Lololol!

    Ok fine, you've broke a stallion(found out it was an old gelding that broke into a trot).

    I did finally get him to hold the reins properly and not steer the mare like a Mac truck and wear a helmet! That was enough for lesson one. We ended the second lesson halfway thru. I couldn't take it anymore. I did not get upset, yell or be condescending in any way. I tried to be encouraging, positive and clear and concise, in my instruction. He wasn't too bad, but man just wouldn't listen.
    Example: (me) ok babe, push your heels down more, and it will help anchor your position down. Him: my heels are down. His toes were pointing down, with his heel digging into mares side.
    I get him to stand up and put all of his weight into his heel. I comment, there that is much better! Good job! I really do try to be positive and encouraging, to the point I feel like I'm telling a puppy ohmygosh good job for peeing outside!!! Lololol

    But the point is, he sometimes automatically dismisses what I've asked. This is where I'd like some outside input. How do I get him to listen without the resistance??

    To be fair to him, and give him some props, he is a great man, loves the horse. Will feed or water if i'm sick, pick up manure in the pasture and then roto-till the manure heap. He's even brought home his apple cores from work for the mare.

    Let's hear all your stories of failure and triumph!

  • #2
    The worst riding instructors I have ever seen - and I'm not pointing the finger at you for whatever you've been doing - are the ones that just stand there and spout off from the side after putting someone on a horse with no real preparation. The best ones I've seen actually do a lot of riding instruction without putting you on a horse and then get you to repeat what you've been shown how to do on the horse as you progress. Yes, there's some difference between being on and off a horse, but it builds confidence more and it takes danger out of the equation which isn't the case when you throw someone on a horse and their mind goes 95mph. At this point, just get him to stay on the horse and then you focus on some light steering and directional cues with physical re-direction from you. You have to guide him with your presence and not just tell him. It's like telling someone how to make a cake from scratch when they have no real cooking experience. You have to physically show them what to do and move their hands around and such, so that they learn by muscle memory and repetition.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


    • #3
      It can be really hard to teach someone who isn't 100% willing to respond to your instruction. It's hard to teach someone who is is willing to argue with you.

      I would suggest springing for say a 4 pack of lessons with an instructor you like for xmas. You will be able to build on that once 'what a lesson is like' is established.

      I found with my daughter that it was really helpful to instruct her with tasks rather than critiquing her position. That is, I would give her a course of poles to walk or trot over (101 jumping exercises by Linda Allen and our own Weatherford is excellent for this) and then she could see for herself that she couldn't make the turns. At that point, she was much more receptive to a suggestion to what she could do that would make the turn more possible.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


      • Original Poster

        Great advice. This exactly what I was looking for, and will defiantly try them! Thank you so much.

        Maybe I'll set up some pylons and poles and walk thru them with him leading the horse thru them and then aboard.

        Any others?


        • #5
          The Short Answer: Don't.

          Instructing one's spouse/SO in a complex subject is a shortcut to frustration and, maybe, a lawyer's office.

          The one time I ever struck my wife (and intended to do so) was the time we were flying and I was instructing her. She made the same dumb-ass, dangerous mistake three times. I carefully explained the 5Ws the first time; the second time my explanation was shorter and more terse; the third time I rapped her knuckles and said, "GOD DAMMIT YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!!!"

          With the aid of 20/20 hindsight that may not have been the best approach. But it did have the salutory effect of being absolute last time she ever made that error. The flight back to home plate and drive back to the house were pretty quiet, though.

          Even to this day, almost 40 years after that event, I do not offer any instructional advice unless asked or I see something really dangerous developing.

          Hire an outside instructor. You'll be glad you did.

          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


          • #6
            The only way we manage it here (and we are not at the teaching a beginner to ride level) is to never talk about what the rider is doing or should be doing. Eyes on the ground saying what the rider should make the horse do, or what evasion the horse is displaying is fine, but we stay away from rider specific comments.


            • #7
              IMO "THAT" (teaching DH to ride) is not possible without a divorce in your future!! Buy the lessons!! My DH is/was a rider when we met and I still can't give an ounce of advice after 40+ years without a war!!! He doesn't ride MY horses either!! Good Luck!!
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


              • Original Poster

                Ok wow guilherme! Crash course on how to fly a plane I would not do!
                How scary!! Did she ever learn to fly? Or did you ever take her out again?

                If SO has more interest I will go to a trainer. He's a pretty laid back easy to get along individual, which makes me think, what I am doing is not the right way. And maybe you have a point about the complexity of trying to achieve harmony between the three of us(horse counts too).

                At this point we only have one horse, and have been actively looking for another to bring into the family. My ultimate goal would to be to have a partner to just trail ride with. His friends have already had an effect on him about wearing those 'fruity English pants' and saddle.(there words not mine). So trails is the most I hope for

                If it doesn't work out, well at least i have a man that is supportive of my horse passion, and that really means more to me. He doesn't even bat an eye to give her scratches in her most favorite, neck stretching, lips contorting, eyes rolling back in her head place.... Her teets lol


                • #9
                  She had a private license when we got married. We'd flown together many times before and did many times afterwards. But I NEVER again did any instructing.

                  We continued to take turns in the left seat, but if the weather was bad or there were other issues I got the "command" seat as I had an Instrument rating (I'm a retired Naval Aviator) and she did not. She was, however, a good navigator.

                  With the horses I've given advice when asked. And vice versa. I've taken video and stills of her and vice versa. But I won't do any serious instructing. Not now, not ever.

                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                  • #10
                    If you are a teacher, you would not be having those problems, but maybe others just as damaging to your relationship from that effort.

                    Leave it to the instructors and later, you can both help each other by being "eyes on the ground" for each other, where it is an offered opinion, not a lesson to be followed.

                    As an instructor, I have taught plenty that had family members that were very capable of teaching anyone but family.

                    If you insist, you could try teaching him in a lesson with others, that makes it easier.


                    • #11
                      Can't be done. Get him an instructor and be his cheerleader.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                        Even to this day, almost 40 years after that event, I do not offer any instructional advice unless asked or I see something really dangerous developing.

                        Hire an outside instructor. You'll be glad you did.

                        Yes. Otherwise, make it fun, preserve the ego unless something really unsafe and let someone else do the teaching! And, there are many ways to do things with horses, as long as its safe, I am more or less okay when my husband does something with mine. Otherwise, he'd get the reaction G gave.

                        You might try a visit to a guest ranch-lots of miles, chances for OTHERS to give feedback, and tons of fun, so people WANT to ride and get better.

                        If I do give him feedback on something, I tend to preface it with, "I know you know this, Im kind of telling you this as a reminder for me". Of course, he also gives me "feedback" as well and, annoyingly, is usually right.


                        • #13
                          My suggestion is to not even try, as others have said. Find him an instructor, watch the lessons, but keep your trap shut. I tried to teach Mr ddashaq years ago and it was a non-stop argument. Finally, I gave up, bought him an old very broke QH and let the horse teach him how to ride. Worked beautifully (although he has since stopped riding) and we are still married 10 years later.


                          • #14
                            I find that instruction only works if the door/mind is open to instruction.

                            If he's open to instruction, and you've just told him to put his heels down, and he says "They are." You could take a photo and show him. Go up to him and press on his heels to get down. It is amazing that what you THINK you are doing and what you are truly doing don't always match up.


                            • #15
                              I am struggling with WHY you would even want to teach him. I love having my horse time to myself; my husband is supportive of me but does not tread in my horse world. That I share with my daughter


                              • #16
                                DH was brandy spankin' new to the horse world when I met him, and I had to teach him a few things so he could feel involved like he wanted to.

                                He listens pretty well, and I kind of created my own monster. He's very aware of the things that I've taught him, and now he gets on my case if I get lazy about stuff. Just two days ago he scolded me for not turning my mare away from me when I walked into the barn and put her on the cross-ties. I tell him he's right (they LOVE that! lol) and I do it the way that I taught him. (Which in this case was for showing a mare at an inspection...he translated it to every time you handle a horse.)

                                We have a ton of fun though and both really enjoy it. I think the key is to make it a good time. Who cares if he doesn't have his heels down? He's not going to be galloping through the fields anytime soon, and if he is... well he'll learn that you were right.

                                If something that I'm telling him is a real safety issue (say...turning the horse to face you when you turn it out) I make sure that I let him know, and he's good about following directions.

                                He teaches me a lot too, and I think that if you have a good line of communication and a good sense of humor it can be done.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                  The Short Answer: Don't.

                                  Instructing one's spouse/SO in a complex subject is a shortcut to frustration and, maybe, a lawyer's office.

                                  The one time I ever struck my wife (and intended to do so) was the time we were flying and I was instructing her. She made the same dumb-ass, dangerous mistake three times. I carefully explained the 5Ws the first time; the second time my explanation was shorter and more terse; the third time I rapped her knuckles and said, "GOD DAMMIT YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!!!"

                                  With the aid of 20/20 hindsight that may not have been the best approach. But it did have the salutory effect of being absolute last time she ever made that error. The flight back to home plate and drive back to the house were pretty quiet, though.

                                  Even to this day, almost 40 years after that event, I do not offer any instructional advice unless asked or I see something really dangerous developing.

                                  Hire an outside instructor. You'll be glad you did.

                                  LISTEN TO THIS MAN HE KNOWS OF WHAT HE SPEAKS

                                  I taught DH, but I was blessed to know his horse inside and out and know I could trust JJ not to intentionally hurt him, or go faster than he HAD to, ever.

                                  It was still hideous.

                                  HIRE IT DONE. HIRE.IT.DONE.


                                  • #18
                                    My DH only REALLY learned to sit and turn loose of his fears and truly ride, ride, ride w/o thinking after we got sorta lost in SW MT with some friends. We stepped off the trail in search of a shortcut...and got back to camp about 10 hours later, after doing **** with horses that I did not know you could do.

                                    Pay someone else to break him


                                    • #19
                                      Mr IF expressed an interest in riding when I was pregnant with IF Jr. I sent him to a lesson barn. At that time we were horseless. He rode at that barn for years, including riding the horse we ended up buying and boarding there. He absolutely loved the social aspect of riding and horses.

                                      I did my own thing with lessons etc on my own level. I did not attend his lessons or give him instructions. We did several riding vacations and rode together then, but I made few comments about his riding.

                                      I'm a better rider and horseperson than he is, but then I have been at it longer. However, I would not have a lovely farm without his support, both financial and physical. He does prodigious amounts of manual labor on the farm.

                                      So, as others said, if your DH wants to learn to ride, let someone else teach him. You just need to encourage him.
                                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                                      • #20
                                        A nightmare. A recipe for disaster. Do not even consider this.

                                        My first wife's two efforts at "instruction" -- she had no bloody clue that unlike with intellectual exercises where a single explanation typically is enough, that just doesn't work with the difficult-to-coordinate simultaneous complexities of riding -- resulted in two fierce arguments after a mere 20 minutes each.

                                        To my infinite subsequent regret those miserable experiences put me off learning to ride for a dozen years, until her mare talked me into trying again in an over-the-pasture fence discussion one afternoon. Thereafter, I took lessons for a year and then divorced my wife.