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Really need some advice re this horse share please!!

(17 Posts)
Frangipan1979 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:37:01

A while ago I decided to get back into horse riding, having not ridden for 15 odd years. I had a couple of lessons at riding school but was pretty rubbish - the kind of dead to the leg horses you have to boot so much to keep trotting you can't concentrate on anything else I decided to look for a share, with the intention of having lessons with a good freelance instructor.

I set out looking for something safe and sensible, all I want to do is the odd plod round the woods or gentle schooling - I have no desire to do anything more ambitious! I'm not a teenager anymore and have responsibilities these days - so my main aim was to find a safe bombproof donkey of a horse and be able to enjoy leisurely weekend rides without getting killed or injured in the process.

I viewed a couple of unsuitable horses ( despite the fact I had said the words novice and safe and sensible horse numerous times to the owners.....) then I thought I had found 'the one'.

However I rode him this week, and all was fine until I asked him to canter and, well I'm not sure exactly what happened but it all went wrong (something involving the horse putting its head right down and running) and I very very almost fell off.

This has completely knocked my confidence. Part of me says don't give up just because I nearly fell off, but then I remind myself of my objectives (safe, sensible, donkey of a horse and not getting killed or injured).

What would you do? Do you think my dreams of finding a perfect donkey of a horse that never does dodgy stuff are totally unrealistic?

Also I'm now questioning whether it's my riding that made the horse put his head down and run, as another horse I rode recently did that to me too.....

InExitCelsisDeo Fri 21-Dec-12 18:42:13

No, - it is not you. Well, it may be you, but that doesn't mean that the right safe, sensible horse isn't out there.

Keep looking, or find yourself a better riding school where they have decent horses that aren't dead to the leg.

(I speak as someone who, after not riding for three years following the birth of my DD, never cantered my own horse again, as she did the head between the knees rocking horse bounce so I do know how you feel.)

Wolfiefan Fri 21-Dec-12 18:48:33

Can you get a lesson on him? Get an instructor to view you riding him before you decide?

Tamoo Fri 21-Dec-12 18:56:58

What is the horse doing at the moment and what has he been doing lately?

I looked for a share earlier this year (never found anything) and quite a lot of the horses available were ones whose owners had very little time for them, for various reasons, and they had mostly been left out at grass and only minimally exercised. Essentially the owners were fed up paying full cost for animals they weren't doing anything with thus looking for someone to share the financial burden as much as the care and riding stuff.

Which is fair enough, but I mention it because if this horse was out of work/not having much done with him lately, he might have just got excited and had a funny turn.

However if it's something that happens regularly to you (horse putting its head down and larking about) then it might be something perfectly simple like you're asking for canter on a very loose rein, and you need to tighten up and get him more collected, again something that refresher lessons will help you relearn.

Backinthebox Fri 21-Dec-12 19:22:56

My own 'safe mother's hunter' is feeling rather bright at the moment! Something to do with him being in his stable for 18 hours a day because it's too dark/muddy to stay out in the field for much longer combined with him being fed and fittened for hunting (which is not happening - see above comment about the dark/mud!) Honestly, he's as safe as houses, but he was off somewhere on a mission today.

Zazzles007 Fri 21-Dec-12 21:09:58

Frangipan, I'm going to be rather harsh with you, I'm afraid. I understand that I suggested that you have a look at the parelli loan horse, however, now that you have revealed more about your situation, I am going to suggest something very different. Without knowing the truth about your situation, it is hard to give someone the correct information. I have been into horses for almost 35 years and can dressage up to elementary/medium level and have jumped as high as 5ft in my time.

It would have been far more prudent for you to get a minimum of 6 months of lessons under your belt before you even considered looking for a loan horse. The lessons would give you an idea of what type of horse you like, the riding school could have helped you get a horse, and you would have met some owners who might have liked you enough to allow you to ride their horse.

And that is just the start of it. The 6 months of lessons would also have built your confidence to a level where you could handle the horse confidently both on the ground and in the saddle, and deal with little hiccups like this (yes in the scheme of things, this is only a small hiccup, but with your confidence level and level of experience, it seems major). Also having an instructor you trusted, you could then have approached him/her about the incident, and they would have helped you correct the situation and nipped it in the bud immediately.

As to what I would do? If I were you, first of all, I would question why I have made a series of decisions which are not good ones. Then I would call up the loaner's owner and tell them that I have decided that I need more experience under my belt with a reputable riding school and a good instructor who understands my goals. Then I would do what Vicarinatutu did when she was screening riding schools for lessons - she tried 3 schools before she found the one she liked. Her thread:

I'm sorry if this appears harsh, but there are far too many riders who get their confidence knocked flat by a horse who accidently scares them. I can tell by your post that you are in over your head, and that this will end in tears. Your confidence is paramount in a relationship with a horse - he will take his cues from you, and now that you are nervous, he will only get worse and worse. In a partnership with a horse, the rider must be the leader. This is why riding schools must have abolute saints for horses, because they know the riders are only just learning. And yes, it is unrealistic for you to think that there are any horses out there that never, never, never do anything dodgy - they are animals with their own heart and their own brain, they are not cars or motorbikes.

Of course feel free to disregard any of the above advice which I have given, which I have a feeling you might.

Booboostoo Fri 21-Dec-12 21:33:58

To be honest you sound like a very very novicey rider. Nothing wrong with that, we've all been there, but you are asking for trouble trying to share a horse at this stage.

Do your confidence a favour and go back to an RS. Try more than one until you find the one that suits you.

headlesshorseman Fri 21-Dec-12 21:59:15

Frangipan I'm sorry that you feel this way, but i'm gonna have to agree with Zazzles. Sometimes it is better to take a few steps back while you can.
You sound like you are very very novice. I consider myself a novice, having rode as a child I didnt ride for nearly 10 years, only restarting once my dcs were at school. But, I got 5 years of riding school experience under my belt before even thinking of finding a share. I rode every horse in the school (size permitting) and learnt to deal with a multitude of situations.
And I found a share who had been out of work for months, but is an absolute dreamy angel of a horse.
But the bugger he still threw me off, for no discernible reason. He still spooks when pidgeons fly at him. He is an animal with feelings and fears, and half of the battle is knowing how to deal with it.
I do think that a different riding school might be a good idea, with a view to share again in a few months.
FWIW, when dhorse decides to run rather than canter, I keep my leg on but half halt every few paces to try and collect him up. And sit up! Worth a practice in an enclosed area if you have one. Sometimes it can all be a bit too exciting for them grin

Backinthebox Fri 21-Dec-12 22:30:05

I don't hang around in this chat room that much, so am completely unaware of any history here. It may well be the case that the OP is in over her head, but to suggest that she shouldn't be sharing a horse at this stage isn't necessarily the case. Zazzles, I have also competed at Elementary level, jumped over 5 ft, and competed successfully as an amateur against professionals at County level. I've been placed in national competitions, and have trained my last 2 horses up to a point where they have made superb bold hunt masters' horses. I keep my horses at home - I've had 2 or 3 in at a time for the last 5 years, of all different types, and would consider myself competent. I've done all this after answering an ad for a horse share after 8 years away from horses. I rode one unsuitable horse after another, and learnt from this. Admittedly, I did have 13 years experience as a child, riding some fairly challenging ponies. But riding as a child is completely different to coming back into it as the responsible adult.

Yes, some people should have a few lessons, but horse riding is not the exclusive right of only those who have had 35 continuous years of horse ownership. I think the OP probably needs to follow through with the intention to have lessons with a good freelance instructor. It is only face to face that it is possible to assess whether the OP is over-horsed or too inexperienced. The fact that she 'nearly fell off' is neither hear nor there. Everyone falls off from time to time, and she didn't, but she DID get a reminder that it is a possibility. No one enjoys falling off, but it happens. If the horse has been otherwise good, and she is getting support from someone IRL who knows her and is experienced, I would not be quick to be so harsh.

Frangipan1979 Fri 21-Dec-12 22:33:40

Zazzles I actually came to that conclusion myself before reading your message. I am going to call the owner and just be honest and say I don't feel confident & experienced enough. Thankfully I have not committed to anything with her yet.

In my defence-

I had taken some riding lessons to get me back into it

I was riding the loan horse with an instructor

a couple of my horsey friends who have seen me ride said they felt I was good enough for a share when I asked their opinions

I was completely open and honest with the owner about my ability level

I also know people with no more experience than me who have actually bought horses and gone on to make a success of it.

But I guess the bottom line is that I bit off more than I can chew and I am not afraid to admit that

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Fri 21-Dec-12 22:36:30


i see Zazzles beat me to it! do have a look at my thread - its most illuminating!

i am loving my lessons but im getting the most excellent tuition and so now, is my DD who has started lessons with this lovely lady too.

i want to own my own horse eventually but i know not to run before i can walk, and this lady is giving me the tools and the confidence i will need plus proper tuition on horses that need to be ridden properly.

i can imagine that the wrong horse for your level of expertise can seriously damage your confidence and i love riding so much i dont want to risk that.

do some research, get some lessons under your belt and just enjoy getting back in the saddle.

good luck!

Frangipan1979 Fri 21-Dec-12 22:42:11

Thanks Vicar I will do, just finding that good riding schools are hard to come by!!

VicarInaTutuDrankSantasSherry Fri 21-Dec-12 22:49:11

tell me about it!

it was tenacity that found my instructor - just knowing i wasnt learning anything at the others, i really am a novice, but am determined to learn to ride properly.

i tried 3 before i found my lady. She gets no end of pupils who have been for months (or years!) at other schools and who know absolutely sod all about horses or how to ride properly.

for some schools, its just a money making scheme - the horses are plods and know the drill, so you just sit there doing nothing.

with my instructor, you ride. she lets you get away with nothing!! but i love her and her horses. she is the real deal.

keep looking, just keep booking lessons at differing schools - i felt as soon as i talked to my instructor that she was a real instructor, with qualifications and the knowledge to back that up.

its hard to find a really good instructor but so worth it.

Zazzles007 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:46:06

Good Frangipan, I am glad that you are taking the well worn path rather than persevering with this loaner. Sorry I was harsh, but I have seen a lot of people who have horses which are totally unsuitable for them, which they should not be riding or should not have bought.

Recently one woman I know rode a loaner horse and ended up breaking her leg in a lesson over small cross country jumps with a safe trainer - should not have been allowed to happen. Another woman has taken on a completely unsuitable horse and broke her wrist recently in a lesson with the same trainer - this woman will not be talked out of selling this horse. So even though the above 2 women have regular lessons and are boarded with an instructor, it still did not prevent accidents. I would hate to see something similar happen to you.

Also asking friends may not be the most realistic evaluation of your riding schools - a riding instructor usually has no fear of offending you and will at least tell you close to the truth.

Zazzles007 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:50:18

riding skills, not schools

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 22-Dec-12 00:24:54

Above posters have said it all really, the riding school horses really are the best thing, lazy and stubborn though they sometimes are, they almost always default to "stand still and do nothing" if you get in a pickle or lose your balance. This is what you need just now. Once you are at a level where you can walk trot canter and gallop out on a hack, pop a small fence and feel comfortable that you can control the horse in most situations, that's a good time to start looking for a share.

herewegoloubyloo Sat 22-Dec-12 00:34:13

grin at "stand still and do nothing". Add: "looking bored and rather gormless" grin But safe.

Fwiw, I've come back to riding after a long break, and it's not as simple as riding a bike is.

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