View Full Version : Another Horse Problem, can you help?

02-10-2007, 06:29 PM
Okay, here it is.

I love Obie, he's such a gentleman and is so gentle. He's our gentle giant. IO...well..she's a hot horse, I rode her once and she spooked at her own shadow 3 times...anyways, I love Obie, but he's not so nice once you actually get on him. He's really lazy at the trot, and soo spastic at the canter. he'll be all excited about cantering up to a jump just to stop, put his head down, and buck. I haven't fallen off yet, but I suspect someday I won't be able to stop myself from losing it. I love him so much, but the truth is I'm really scared when I see Obie next to my name, because I know I'll have a really hard lesson. Not just hard, but I get to where I'm holding my breath when I trot up to ajump or canter up to it, becaue i know he might decide not to go over it. And there's nothing I can do. A 1200(maybe more?) pound horse againt a 92 pound girl? Obie would sooo win.

Other then asking my instructor to let me ride another horse, what can I do? (she'd tell me to suck it up and ride him, basically)

How can I regain my confidence on Obie? I've had 3 almost falls, all of which I saved myself by grabbing onto something and hauling myself up. Everytime I ride him, I'm afraid I'll actually fall off this time. What's worse, on my second to last lesson, I saw someone fall off of Doc(an adorable little pony) and land on the jump...they were like screaming. I'm so scared that'll happen to me, I know it sounds really stupid. I have 21 days before my next riding lesson, 21 days to igure out what to do, becaue I'll almost definitely be riding him on the lesson. HELP!!!

02-10-2007, 08:20 PM
Just a few questions for you...how old are you, how long have you been riding, and how often do you ride?

IMHO, you need a new riding instructor, or you need to have a sit down talk with your instructor and talk to her about Obie-she is the one that needs to help you with him. Part of the learning experience, though, is to ride increasingly difficult horses. Perhaps your instructor thinks you're ready for more than plodding around on Ol'Faithful. BUT on the other side of that, if you are too afraid of what the horse is doing and not able to concentrate on your riding, it's time to move back to a horse you are comfortable on. As long as your instructor is competant (there ARE some that aren't...) make sure you're listening to what she says when Obie acts up, and don't be too whiney when talking about him.

Remember, 80% of horse 'problems' are the fault of the rider. :) He has other people than you ride him-he may be expecting a kid to jolt him in the mouth, or come down on his back, and thus why he stops. Make sure YOU aren't doing this yourself.

If your instructor won't listen to you-you need another barn. I was with a barn for a year and a half, taking lessons, and it was the worst thing EVER for my confidence, I look back and ask why I didn't leave-I was so afraid of my instructor. She always wanted me to ride off the track TBs, and they would bolt on me and I wasn't strong enough (i was like...11/12 yrs old)-one day she put me on a new one she had just gotten in and wanted me to canter him-I said NO. So she grabbed a lunge whip and snapped it and the horse exploded-I fell off, it was horrible. That was a huge breaking point-I realized I was going to get seriously injured if I stayed there. So, please, take my advice. :)

02-10-2007, 08:27 PM
he's such a gentleman
I rode her once and she spooked at her own shadow I'm so confused you kept changing saying it's a boy and then a girl?? Which is it???

You don't seem very old I'm thinking you should wait till you are a better rider to ride "it". If your trainer says no then get your mom or someone to talk to them. Your paying THEM to get lessons and they have no right to tell you suck it up if you can't handle a horse.

02-10-2007, 08:56 PM
Wow that just sucks! I say its not you at all, its the instructor. You're there to learn how to ride, not to learn how to fall off, and the instructor sees how Obie is. She shouldn't allow training riders on the horse until its fully rideable and doesn't try to throw riders off.

I say talk to your instructor, whoever it is doesn't sound all too responsible to me. Good luck, I hope you can get a horse that won't try and make you fall. Cause riding can be soo amazing if you have the right horse:D

02-11-2007, 10:31 AM
buttercup132 - sorry if I didn't make it clear, but I was talking about another horse spooking at her own shadow, haha.

Obie is used for beginner riders and more advanced riders. It might be that he's afraid of someone catching him in the mouth..I've only done that once or twice when he took off for the jump a stride early...:[ It's not that he's a bad horse, I have a video of me riding him, but I don't know how to get it on the computer..

areias - I'm almost 13, I've been riding since I was 9, and I ride once a week (we can't afford more..). I love my instructor, she's awesome, but she doesn't let her riders get off easy, I guess. If I told her I was really scared, she'd let me ride someone else for a few weeks, but I'd always go back to riding Obie. When I first started riding, I had a horrible lesson with this pony named King(a mouth of steel, only a 50% chance of turning him..) and she let me change mounts when I was scheduled to ride him. She understands, and I would have ridden King eventually, but he died before I could... I do listen to her when he acts up, and most of the time it helps. I guess she thinks I'm ready for harder things, I like her much better then my old instructor. She had me learning to jump on a horse that didn'tknow how to jump. Lily(the horse) didn't know what to do with herself over jumps, and it was so bad something that I was tempted to just not jump. I love my instructor, and I love my barn There is one other barn I know I could go to(3 actually but you have to lease or own to go to 2 of them) and my friend goes there, but I've seen pictures and the place isn't well kept or anything. I don't want to switch barns. There are 2 other instructors I could have, one I had when I started riding who is less sympathetic then my teacher now, and the other who owns the barn is really strict.

Kalei - I guess we all have to fall off eventually... :] Obie is ridable, he just gets so excited when we canter or head towards a jump. He's soo calm compared to Junior, who'll take me out of the arena if the door is open, but I love him.

Dont read my post the wrong way, Obie is not some off-the-track crazy TB (he is part TB though), he's really calm and almost bomb proof (something that made Joey bolt on me merely made Obie swish his tail) but gets a little over-excited. I have a video of him, if anyone knows how to get videos on the computer, tell me please?
Thanks for the advice, and if I getthe chance, I'll talk to my instructor. I know I really need to regain my trust in Obie..

02-11-2007, 11:17 AM
Do you mean get the video uploaded onto a site so you can post it on here?
Or you have it video taped with a video camera instead of a digital camera?

02-11-2007, 03:03 PM
I have it taped with a video camera, and how to get it (a) on the computer and (b) on this site, or another site with a link to here

02-11-2007, 04:59 PM
If you have a digital camera put it on the tv then tape it with your digi cam.

02-11-2007, 05:11 PM
kay, then just plug it into the computer? great, I'll do that when I get a chance, and then I'll put me and Obie on here. I love him, I really do. If all I had to do was get him from his stall and brush him and feed him cherries(he spits the pits out, haha!) then everything would be fine!

Toby's my baby
02-11-2007, 06:58 PM
Do you lunge Obie before you ride him? Maybe he isn't stretched out enough or something? I would lunge him over the jumps until he goes over them every time.. Does he only do this to you, or does he do it with other riders also? If he does it with everyone, maybe he has an injury that nobody is aware of, or, maybe he just doesn't like jumping. A lot of horses just don't like doing certain things, and when they get their mind set on something, its hard to change if for them.

Suki Wingy
02-11-2007, 08:30 PM
I was having similar problems, If you start to "reach" with your shoulders before the jump you may start to question weather you'll be able to "carry" him over. If this is the case, this is a psychological problem for the horse and you need to keep your shoulders straight up and let the horse's momentum lift you over. "Ride him like a jumper" Is what my instructor says.

02-12-2007, 02:05 PM
Obie doesn't get lunged, not before being ridden. Joey, sometimes, bt Obie, never. He's just not a crazy horse. I can normally keep him under control because I know what to expect.

He loves jumping, I'm pretty sure of that. When we head towards a jump, his ears goforward and his step gets springier. Once we get to the jump, he either really wants to go over it or not at all. :\

I'll try the shoulder thing when I ride him, maybe it'll help! :]

Miss Z
02-12-2007, 02:38 PM
Don't worry about a thing, you are not alone. I've ridden for about 11 years, and for most of that time I've had lapses of confidence, some worse than others, for exactly the same reasons as you. I've pretty much overcome all that now but I clearly remember how utterly frustrating and upsetting it is to have that plunging gut feeling when you get on a horse you know could quite easily unseat you. ((hugs)) for you.

As others have said, your instructor is key. If you don't have faith in what your instructor is telling you to do, chances are you can't trust the horse you're riding either, for fear of his/her reaction. I've been through a right lot of instructors, and right now I think I have the best one I've ever had. Whenever you're riding, never be afraid to question your instructor. If they tell you to do something, ask them why you need to do it and how it will help you improve. If something doesn't feel right, ask them how to correct it. If they can't tell you or go about doing so in a hurtful manner, chuck 'em! ;)

Now, with regards to the actual riding, position, position, position. It sounds stupid but it helps a great deal. When a rider is nervous, they tend to tip forward, rest their weight on their hands and tighten the contact. All this says to the horse is 'Oh my god, something bad's gonna happen, get ready to run!', exactly the opposite of what you want. You need to take a deep breath, sit back and get yourself as straight as possible. Concentrate something particular in your position, this will help take your mind off the fear. For example, I try to concentrate on keeping my toes pointing forward and my legs 'hugging' the horses belly. A rider who sits up straight and tall with an even contact tells a horse you mean business.

Next, I know when you're feeling scared you want to keep the paces as steady as possible, but don't be satisfied with half-effort! Give the horse a good kick and make it work, really get the most out of the money you're paying for this lesson. If he's having problems in his trot, think about the walk, is it going forward? Are his hindquarters powering him along rather than his forelegs dragging him? Practice halt-trot transitions and get him working lightly in your hands, you need to feel like you're being taken somewhere by him rather than having to force him along with your leg. He's the big animal and you're the little human, make him do the work!

Now, with the canter, transitions will help too. Allow him just three or four canter strides before coming back to trot, and repeat it until he responds as soon as you ask him, don't expect any less! This teaches him that you are in control and if you want to come back to trot, then that's what happens. When you have a longer canter after this, you'll find he's much more responsive because now he's ready for you to put the brakes on at any time.

I think the approach is a pretty scary part of the jump, but, sit quietly and focus on the centre. Keep your leg on and if you feel any hesitation from Obie, do your best to keep him straight and the canter steady. Don't lean forward too early, this takes the weight off his back and allows him to buck, just look ahead as if the jump isn't even there at all. When you feel him take off over the jump, fold yourself down and allow your hands to move to let his neck stretch as he jumps. I'm sure it'll all be fine! Don't be put off, though, if he does refuse or perhaps buck the first time, some horses do this but the important thing is to correct it straight away. If he does throw a buck, see this as something positive; after all he's just freed up any tension in his back so now there's no excuse for him refusing the jump second time around! ;)

Finally, if you've never fallen off before, don't be afraid by your thoughts. One day, I expect you will fall off, very few riders never fall off, and it's actually kind of bad if you don't because it shows that you just probably plod around all day :p . But when you do, chances are you'll be kind of disappointed! Most falls are over in a split second and you feel nothing other than dust in your boots and hurt pride. Very few falls are serious, so don't worry!

If you want to know anything else just ask, I know exactly what you're going through and it ain't nice!

Zara :D

02-12-2007, 03:25 PM
hehe I can maintain my position when I'm scared....unless I'm going towards a jump. My instructor has told me soo many times not to..how did she say it...hunch like a turtle, i think it was. My hands collapse into my body, I tighten the reins, and I look down. I have a video of my on Obie, and over EVERY jump, I looked down. :]

Yup, the plunging feeling is there. He has unseated me, and I was halfway down his neck before I caught myself..of course once he felt me out of the saddle, he put his head down and pretended to be the innocent one. I've ridden many lessons out where the horse I was riding has gone into a bucking fit. I normally A squeeze then harder to make them go forward instead of up and down, or B turn them in tight circles until they calm down (that works for Joey, if I kick him he goes CRAZY) But, with Joey, Junior, and even Barney, I was not that far off the ground. With Obie, its a long way down.

*EDIT*Okay. I got the videos on the computer, they're really bad quality, but they show shots of me on Obie.

I'm in the blue shirt, Joey's the grey and Obie's the big bay:
( I know my lower leg looks really bad in that picture, she had to yell at me a few times that lesson)

at the end, you can see the chestnut pass the camera, thats Lily. You can see how un-coordinated she is. Imagine learning to jump on her!

hehe a clip of us going over our warm-up jump, it was one he really wanted to go over :] you can see more of Lily, she's so wierd.

Obie refusing a jump, you can't really see it 'till a little farther. You can also see my instructor there, a little. She's in the middle...

Miss Z
02-14-2007, 12:38 PM
I watched all your videos and I don't think your position is that bad, but what you really need is much more impulsion. Horses refuse jumps because they don't have enough faith in their rider that they actually want to go over the jump. You have a nice rhythm in your canter, but try stopping the video and looking at little shots of it by dragging the cursor very slowly. See how the canter looks as if it's not going anywhere? That's because his hind legs aren't powering him forward enough.

You want to really get him striding forwards so you can feel him taking you somewhere. The more forward you go, the better the jump will flow. Also, it's much easier for the horse to jump from canter rather than trot, and because you are jumping low fences, you really want the jump to feel like a big canter stride. Really get your leg on to tell Obie you're ready to go! :)

I wish I'd taken some videos when I was jumping Caddy a few weeks ago, I'm afraid I'm not always the best at explaning what I mean. :p

02-14-2007, 01:07 PM
we trot over the tiny warm up jumps, then canter over ones a little bigger. If i let him canter up to the warm-up jump, like I do with Joey, then he's hard to slow down when we land. And, with people on their second lesson ever cutting the corner, I need to have control of him, ya know?

I see what you mean about not going anywhere. Sometimes, he's really powering himself through the canter, others he just drags himself. When he powers thorugh, its really fun and easy(ish) to ride him. Otherwise, its just kick-kick-kick-smack-kick....to keep him cantering. Sometimes he'll just randomly change leads..

16 days till i start riding! Hopefully, I'll remember all the advise and actually use is when riding. :]
*edit* 15 days!