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Have you ever had to ride a horse you hate?

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  • Have you ever had to ride a horse you hate?

    My boss is making me a ride a horse I just can't stand. She of course thinks he's the best horse in the world but I hate him. I don't know why. The problem is he's the only horse I can ride right now, but honestly I'd rather not ride than ride him. And it's not like he's tough to ride or anything, he just isn't fun to me and I hate his personality on the ground.
    I asked my boss if I could lease her other horse that is at a different barn right now but she said no, without any explanation. I love that horse and she's making me ride the one horse I hate.
    I've even told her like 3 times that I don't like him. I didn't make a snap judgment either, I rode him last summer too and didn't like him then.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't know what to do.

  • #2
    Been there/done that. Now, 18 years later, on the other side, it was the best thing for me and trainer knew it. That horse taught me PLENTY.

    To continue to buck up against the system, will only make you tense in the tack. Change your internal viewpoint to: "I have a horse to ride. That's a blessing. I can learn REGARDLESS of the horse. That's a blessing."

    Then tack up and ride. Learn to deal with the personality conflict in a positive way... if you fight him, you'll just come to a stalemate and create more tension. Get creative in how you work around his personality.
    <>< 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.


    • #3
      As a professional, I never ask myself if I like a horse or not.
      You do the best you can for each horse you ride, liking them doesn't matter.

      Of course it is more fun to ride the nice horses, but that goes along with riding all and any, so you get to enjoy the ones you like best.

      Changing your approach to that horse will help.
      You don't have to like him, just do your best riding him, as Chocomare has already posted.

      Many years ago, a friend gave me a horse, said she hated him, didn't even want to sell him, just gave him away.
      Well, that horse was really not nice at all, didn't care for anyone else but himself, other horses also didn't like him.
      He was the kind of horse that is inconsistent, you never know what he would do next, maybe was working great for a while and next time you ask the same the same way, he may kick at your leg out of the blue.

      I think he probably had a terribly inconsistent start as a foal and later under saddle as a colt and just never could figure how the world works and didn't want to.
      I worked cattle on him one summer and then gave him away also to a less than bright but very nice cowboy that kept him as the only horse at his house and got along fabulously with him, go figure.

      I would not say I learned much from him and was glad to see him go, as were the other geldings in his herd, I think.

      Not knowing about that horse of yours, whatever he is, try to make the best of it while you are the one to handle and ride him.
      If nothing else, remember the old phrase, "to do what we don't want to do builds character".


      • #4
        I don't think I've ever hated riding a horse. The closest I got was when I was still taking group lessons not long after I started riding again. They put me on this mare that was known to be difficult if you didn't ride her correctly (difficult in the sense of stopping and/or backing up and not moving forward. To be honest, I don't know why they were using her for those sorts of lessons). And me being a re-rider...well...that entire lesson was a huge exercise in frustration and I was about in tears at least once.

        Luckily, they never put me on her again so I didn't have to determine what I'd do if that was the horse I was made to ride.

        But in your situation...I don't know. If the horse works well enough, you just don't mesh personality-wise and the horse is the only one you have access to ride, I'd probably stick it out.

        I probably would have with the horse I mentioned at the top of my post and it probably would have made me a better rider at the end of it.

        I agree with the others who said you might want to try changing your viewpoint of the situation. Maybe do something with him for a few rides that isn't just schooling so you two might relax and find a midpoint of cooperation?
        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


        • #5
          I have a suggestion coming from human relationships. Let's say you know a person who has a way of being passive agressive- or totally self centered- some personality trait that makes them unlikeable. Rather than just getting whalloped every time they pull one of their stunts with you- make it an excercise to dissect the behavior that gets under your skin. Rather than just vague- "I don't like it when that person is around"... work on figuring it out... "she is passive agressive and has a way of turning just about anything into an insult." Once you get it figured out- you can make a game of looking for it- "Oh, Here comes Jane- I wonder how long it will take for her to say something passive agressive." Then when she finally does let one fly- ding- there it is- I was waiting for that! Because you were on top of it from an aloof position- rather than just innocently smashed from the blind side- you don't have to have the same hurt reaction to her behavior because you have already accepted it as a given. Once you switch your attitude about dealing with her- you can make dealing with her a game- and you can do it internally (like keeping score) or you can even interact with it- but what you don't have to do is keep being hurt by a person with a habitually mean personality.

          So- could a horse be approached the same way? Maybe you didn't get into specifics about this horse's unlikability because you haven't put the work into really pinpointing what it is. Maybe you have to first identify the traits- and then you could have a little more power over *your experience* and your emotional reaction to them. Maybe they are behaviors that can be trained out- maybe they have to be lived with- maybe it takes a better rider than you currently are (maybe that's why the trainer wants him to teach you) but unless it's dangerous stuff that could get you hurt- I think it is a character developing excercise to learn how to control your own experience of the ride.


          • #6
            I would not say Hate, but maybe not be in tune with. I figure you can learn something from every horse you have the opportunity to sit on.
            Try to look at it as a learning experience, See if you can go into it with a neutral attitude and make the most of it. Horses sense when you do not like them. You might be surprised. Give it a shot!


            • #7
              Is she charging you to ride this horse? If not I would just be grateful of the saddle time, and view it as a learning experience. I don't think I have ever ridden a horse I -hated- but I have ridden plenty that are not my style personally. And when I got them working correctly it was so gratifying, because I has really worked at it.

              The best rider is a versatile one so unless he is dangerous, chalk it up to a learning experience. As someone who has let people ride my horses for free before, I found it very irritating when someone would complain about the horse... That I paid to feed, shoe, etc and they paid nothing. Particularly when many of the complaints were not the error of the horse, but the error of the rider.

              As a result of that, I will be much less likely to let people ride my horses for free in the future aside from my very good friend, who has never complained and is a very capable rider. Just putting that out there, any time in the saddle shouldn't be taken for granted.
              Last edited by magicteetango; May. 6, 2013, 10:44 AM.


              • #8
                magicteetango has a point,

                This is a different situation if you're having to pay to ride the horse. If you're paying for ride time, you should be able to find a horse that you mesh with even if that means looking elsewhere if this horse is the only one your boss has to offer.

                If your boss is giving you the ride time, I'd use some of the suggestions people have offered here to make it work.

                Also: if your boss thinks he's great, what makes her see him that way? Maybe you could keep that in mind when you're working with him.
                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                • #9
                  If you're not paying to ride the horse well, you've got a free ride. It's more than some riders have.

                  If you're paying to ride this horse and truly hate riding him, then put your money where your mouth is and start looking for another horse to lease.

                  Trainer doesn't owe it to you to lease you her other horse. Her horse, her decision. The reason could be anything from health issues she doesn't want to disclose to you, to the horse is being used by someone else, being sold, anything in-between. May as well just let that one go if she doesn't want to lease the horse now because if her mind is made up and you keep pushing the issue it will just cause problems between the two of you. Respect her decision.

                  Personally I've never came across a horse I out-and-out hate. I've ridden quite a few I didn't mesh with but I'd never say I hated them.

                  Here's the thing about hate. It's a very negative emotion. There is a certain finality to it when we decide we hate something, we've decided it has no redeeming qualities or anything to offer us. That is a lot of baggage to carry into the saddle. So unless this horse is dangerous and assuming you've got no other riding prospects at the moment I'd say a change in your attitude is in order, not a change in your mount.


                  • #10
                    There is no such thing as a bad horse. Certainly there are horses that would be better suited to other riders, but I never blame the horse. If I ride a horse that I don't mesh with, then I need to expand my knowledge and riding style so that I can mesh with that horse. I would NEVER say I "hate" a horse. Ever.

                    Considering this is your only opportunity to ride at the moment, it looks like you have two choices.
                    1. Get a different attitude.
                    2. Don't ride.

                    Think how sensitive horses are to our emotions. How they know when we've had a rough day and are extra snuggly. Or they know when we're tense and nervous. How do you think this horse is reacting when he feels all this negative/angry energy coming from you? I don't think I would be very inclined to want you to like me either in his place.


                    • #11
                      When I was a working student at a large yard, I had to ride a number of horses that I did not really click with. I learned real fast to suck it up, ride the horse to the best of my abilities, and trust that my instructors did know better than me and there was usually a reason I was on that horse. In almost every case, I came to enjoy the difficult ones when I got out of my own way and learned to give them the ride they needed. You can focus on being pissed off or you can decide to learn from this. It is entirely up to you.


                      • #12
                        If a working student of mine told me three times that they hated a horse they were assigned to ride they would find themselves with out anything to ride pretty quick. I would never assign them anything they could not ride, we don't keep dangerous animals but if it is on your ride list then your bottom needs to be in that saddle with a smile on your face.


                        • #13
                          I've run across a few I really don't like, but it's always had to do with behavior on the ground. If you're a working student, you kind of have to ride what you're given or go to another boss, but I do get it's frustrating and annoying to have to ride only one horse and that's one you don't get along with.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by In the Air View Post
                            If a working student of mine told me three times that they hated a horse they were assigned to ride they would find themselves with out anything to ride pretty quick. I would never assign them anything they could not ride, we don't keep dangerous animals but if it is on your ride list then your bottom needs to be in that saddle with a smile on your face.
                            THIS~ 100 hundred percent! You cannot ride enough different horses, it will make you a better rider!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HorseCrazyChick1234 View Post
                              My boss is making me a ride a horse I just can't stand. I
                              don't know what to do.
                              If she is your boss you either do what you are told or quit.

                              You are not a slave, but if you are an employee you don't get to pick and choose what you will or will not do either.
                              A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                              Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by In the Air View Post
                                If a working student of mine told me three times that they hated a horse they were assigned to ride they would find themselves with out anything to ride pretty quick. I would never assign them anything they could not ride, we don't keep dangerous animals but if it is on your ride list then your bottom needs to be in that saddle with a smile on your face.
                                I agree with this. Unless the horse is dangerous, which it sounds like he is not, shut up and ride the horse.

                                When I was a junior, I rode about 3-7 horses a day (3 on school days, closer to 7 on most weekends and in the summer). Some of them were awesome, and some of them were not fun to ride at all for a variety of reasons (dull, way too hot, total jerks, etc.). But I learned very quickly to say "yes" to any ride I was offered so long as I did actually have time to do it. Because riding the less desirable horses was how I got to ride the great ones, and it is also what made me CAPABLE of riding the great ones.

                                One of the most unpleasant horses I ever had to ride was a sale horse my trainer owned that used to do this horrible thing while trotting where he would suddenly start lifting his knees up so high that I could see them while posting (I'm talking, almost next to his head!). He was also just a jerk, and spent most rides crowhopping around. He was a hunter and not gaited or anything, so this weird trotting thing was not a normal movement - it was something he did when he was fresh.

                                I also rode a lot of buckers, stoppers, a whole slew of genuine bad actors...a motley crew of misfits. BUT, those horses sure made me appreciate it when I got to ride the $100,000+ eq horses and upper level jumpers.

                                Riding the weird horses is how you slowly gather tools to address issues that arise with all horses that you will encounter throughout your life.
                                Last edited by FineAlready; May. 6, 2013, 01:40 PM. Reason: spelling


                                • #17
                                  Yep, there was one horse I absolutely hated to gallop. He was a miserable bastard, took chunks out of everyone and wanted nothing more than to get you in the dirt and stomp you. He also had a nasty habit of going vertical on his way to the track. He was also the million dollar great white hope in the barn. Of course he was slower than molasses in January and eventually they cut off his two largest problems, but I don't think he ever ran better than 4th.

                                  As a pro, it wasn't my job to like him, it was my job to get him around the track at whatever speed the trainer said. If you are being paid to do this, suck it up. If the trainer is giving you rides as a favor, suck it up. If you are paying for lessons, then you can have an opinion
                                  Originally posted by The Saddle
                                  Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.


                                  • #18
                                    OP, if you truly hate the horse, just be glad you do not own him. Particularly if you will be buying green or older types with issues, as many of us with budgets do, you may end up owning one that is anything but a favorite. Best learn to make the best of it. BTW, saying "My boss won't let me ride HER horse and makes me ride one I don't like"? Not earning you any respect in the maturity department.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                    • #19
                                      Yes and like a few other posters, years later it was the right decision. Ironically mare hated me almost as much as I hated her. She was a bully in the pasture, a complete jerk on the ground but perfect once you got into the saddle. Now getting into the saddle sometimes was interesting since she'd suck up so your saddle would slip and she'd step on your foot when you had one foot up, bite you or her favorite trick of waiting until you were almost in the saddle and then sidestep out from under you. Like I said though, she taught me A LOT! We also won a lot of money and awards together.
                                      DD has to ride one on occasion. He's the show up and get the job done type horse for her. He doesn't particularly care for DD and he's been naughty to her on occasion enough to where he is not her favorite mount. But when she puts her big girl panties on and rides him correctly they are flawless together.
                                      As my trainer ages ago said: Don't take it personal. You owe it to the horse to ride your best every time you swing your leg over even if you don't like them.
                                      Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                      Originally Posted by alicen:
                                      What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                                      • #20
                                        I've ridden plenty I dislike and a few I hated. Since I was being paid to do so at the time I got the job done, but I would have never swung a leg over any of those horses again as an ammie.

                                        Sometimes there's just a personality conflict. Sometimes there just a type that gets on your nerves. Sometimes there's nothing concrete you just don't like that horse. If you are or want to be a pro you have to learn to smile and do your job well enough that neither the horse or bystanders recognize that you'd rather be anywhere but in that saddle.

                                        If you aren't and have no intentions of ever being a pro trainer, find a barn that can recognize that. You won't change your boss, so you have to change yourself or change barns.