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Not sure if I am being unreasonable

(50 Posts)
NervousRider Sun 05-Jun-16 19:27:33

As my username suggests, I am a nervous rider. I started a year ago at the grand ole age of 40yrs.

I have had a couple of nasty falls which zaps my confidence. I currently go to an adult group lesson once a week and I occasionally (when the pennies allow!) have a private lesson.

I have one horse that I really like and if I could I would always ride her.

I totally understand when it is a group lesson that there are horses allocated to the group, and the instructor puts us on the most appropriate horse. As this particular horse is very dependable she is allocated to the newer riders.

I have one horse who I refuse to ride. I have fallen off this horse due to her being skittish and on riding her again I found I really didn't enjoy my lesson and was nearly in tears as I was so nervous on her.

I have got a private lesson next week and I asked if I could have my favourite horse. I was told by the Yard Owner that "I don't tell her who I ride, she will tell me". I was rather taken back by this as I just feel that when it is a one to one private, that I should be able to choose who I ride.

I totally understand that when it is a group lesson that I can't choose, or if there was a problem with the horse but to just refuse me outright?? My lesson is during school hours too, so the horses are not being used at that time either so it is not due to availability.

I have also been told that I have to ride the skittish mare again. But I also feel that at the grand ole age of 41yrs - if I don't want to then why should I!! I am not there to become an Olympic rider or event-er. I just want to do nice canters and jumps and enjoy my time there.

Am I missing something? sad

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sun 05-Jun-16 19:29:27

That does sound unnecessarily rude and obstructive of her. Is there an alternative riding school you could use?

NervousRider Sun 05-Jun-16 19:37:13

There are many around here which I could easily go too.

Not having much experience in the horse world, I just wanted to know if I was missing something and if I had committed a cardinal sin in asking to have a particular horse.

AcornToOak Sun 05-Jun-16 19:41:52

I dont think you are asking anything unreasonable, I would try another riding school, they may be a bit friendlier

ChristinaParsons Sun 05-Jun-16 19:42:29

That is not good. Try a different school

NervousRider Sun 05-Jun-16 19:49:43

I do like the stables and as my daughter rides as well, I spend approx £200/mth there.

I was just a bit surprised by it all really.

Another question.....

I am rather pear shaped and also overweight. If I loose weight will that improve my riding ability?

CatchIt Sun 05-Jun-16 19:50:16

Wow, that is rude and no, YANBU.

Switch riding schools to one that would suit your needs better. Confidence is such a fragile thing, so easily lost and difficult to regain so your riding school should be helping you become as confident a rider as possible.

Riding is expensive and supposed to be fun!

CatchIt Sun 05-Jun-16 19:52:03

In answer to your 2nd question, yes, it would help your balance and tbh help the horse too.

I had to lose 3 stone after having dd before I could ride my horse. Mind you, he was only 3 at the time and I tell you, it was the best motivation I've ever had! grin

frenchfancy Sun 05-Jun-16 20:00:54

Yes losing weight would help your riding and balance. No doubt about it.

I can actually see where you teacher is coming from. If there is a safe horse that you can canter and go over a couple of jumps on - but you don't feel able to do the same on a different horse, then riding the safe horse won't teach you anything. Frankly if you are cantering and jumping after only a year I am impressed - it took me about 4 to get to that level. Unless the horse she proposed is seriously unsafe - or way above your level - then you should trust her and try to overcome your fears. I know it isn't easy but it will make you a better rider in the long run.

NervousRider Sun 05-Jun-16 20:27:46

Many thanks everyone

On the horse I do like I have done 70cm oxer jumps but I wouldn't do that on any other. Not high compared to professionals but I was pleased with myself grin

My instructor did say that I don't have a self confidence problem, I have a horse confidence problem. Which I do agree with and why I will ride whatever horse (except the skittish mare) they allocate to me for group lesson. I just felt when I am spending £25 on 30mins I should be able to choose what I ride

Booboostwo Sun 05-Jun-16 20:39:15

I think that refusing to ride one particular horse is reasonable and the instructor should respect this. Aside from anything else some horse/rider combinations simply do not work out and you are paying in order to have an enjoyable experience.

Asking to ride a specific horse is less reasonable as it may not be possible to accommodate the request. The particular horse may be lame, or have already done a lot of work that week/day, or be going through a nappy stage that needs to be corrected by an experienced rider, or whatever.

NervousRider Sun 05-Jun-16 20:50:39

Yes I totally understand that and that is why I will ride other horses during my group lesson so I don't become too dependant on one horse.

It was just the snappy reply of her deciding and not me that made me wonder if I had done a faux pas in asking

AyeAye Sun 05-Jun-16 21:08:28

I've never met a riding school owner who wasn't brusque, snappy and rude to be honest. It seems to come with the job. I've often been left standing with a dropped jaw thinking 'how much money am I paying you to be spoken to like that?'

But, the DC are attached to the horses, so I grit my teeth....

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sun 05-Jun-16 22:25:52

Aye I think I've had a similar experience to you mostly. I just assumed they were better with horses than actual people grin

NervousRider Mon 06-Jun-16 06:32:07

She is normally very pleasant which is why I was a little hmm about it all.

WellErrr Mon 06-Jun-16 06:51:28

No she was being an uppity twat.

Some riding instructors feel they need to prove a point. I suspect this is what she's doing. She may well think she's helping you by forcing you to face your fear, but what many instructors don't understand is - YOU DON'T MAKE PEOPLE CONFIDENT BY SCARING THEM.

It's the same as when instructors force clients to try the bigger jump, go through the water, canter in open spaces etc. Whatever.
It doesn't help the client but they don't see this.

Trouble is I'm not sure what you can do about it, as refusing to ride the horse will probably just piss her off.

Is she the only instructor there?

Grumpysfirstwife Mon 06-Jun-16 07:09:19

I would be looking elsewhere. If there's plenty around then take your business somewhere else.
My DD spent years not improving because they refused to change her to a quieter pony (we only have 1 riding school locally) it really knocked her confidence being repeatedly put on the very fast skittish ponies and she never built confidence on that pony despite the instructor telling me she would. She had many falls and eventually decided she would rather quit riding than continue on that pony. I eventually found another riding school and explained the problem and they've been brilliant. She rides the same quiet pony every week and now she feels ready to swap to a faster more experienced ride but it's at her own pace not the instructors.
Sometimes instructors forget that some people really do need to progress at their own pace and horses don't always get on with every rider they're partnered with.
That poor horse probably never has the same rider very long either.

Yes, losing weight should help with your balance etc

foximusprime1 Mon 06-Jun-16 07:19:01

what a rude woman! change riding school! you shouldn't put on a horse you are nervous of, it will knock your confidence big time!!

NervousRider Mon 06-Jun-16 07:27:56

Many thanks again

My actual instructor is lovely and last week allocated me a young horse who I have ridden before and who I was happy to do so again. However as soon as I got on her it was clear that she had to much pent up energy! She was zooming off so fast that I really thought I would come off, was shaking her head side to side constantly and was just to much for me.

My instructor noticed and asked if I wanted to swap to another one which I did gratefully.

I just feel a bit of a failure and pathetic with that as a new rider when on her instead. Sorry...I'm off-loading now!

It is the Yard Manager who spoke to me about allocation of horses.

Floralnomad Mon 06-Jun-16 12:38:07

I do think it's a bit unreasonable that you can't request not to ride a particular horse but it sounds like there are a few horses that you feel unable to cope with and perhaps you need to concentrate on the basics rather than the cantering and jumping so that you feel better able to cope with the more difficult horses. Personally I'd concentrate on private lessons rather than groups as you learn so much more even though you are riding for less time and the instructor gets to focus on you rather than the lesson having to cater for a wider variety of abilities .

frostyfingers Tue 07-Jun-16 09:34:46

When I learned to ride we were always on ponies that pretty much did the job for us until we were able to move up a grade. Generally that happened when we found the said pony boring so the next one was produced which required a higher level of skill and so on. You do learn a lot though by riding a variety of different horses so it's definitely worth taking Florals advice about maybe stepping down a level and concentrating on polishing your skills on other horses rather than always trying to stick to one or two.

I was at an event recently where a fairly novice rider was on a fairly novice horse and it wasn't pretty. The horse couldn't/wouldn't go forwards and was being very nappy and the poor rider just didn't have the skills to cope with it at all and it ended up with both of them in a complete state. In my opinion the rider was well over horsed to the detriment of them both.

NervousRider Tue 07-Jun-16 13:33:27

Over horsed? Not heard that expression before

frostyfingers Tue 07-Jun-16 16:44:47

Haven't you? That surprises me (maybe it's just an old person's expression!)
Horse too much for the rider is basically all it means. If you trust your instructor then are they in a position to have a word with the yard manager re the allocation of horses?

VocalDuck Tue 07-Jun-16 16:52:26

I don't think the Yard Manager was being unreasonable in refusing to allow you to choose which horse you rode but her response was unnecessarily rude and I think it is a reasonable request that you made. Just because your lesson is in school hours doesn't mean that the yard doesn't allocate each horse a set number of hours of work and the one you wanted to ride might then be doing extra compared to another one.

I know a PP disagrees with me but many years ago when I lost my confidence riding, I found always sticking to the one horse that I loaned and trusted enabled me to regain that confidence. I could have forced myself to ride other horses but I wouldn't have enjoyed it and, tbh, horse riding is my hobby and if I am not going to get pleasure from it, I don't see the point in continuing.

I would also change yards.

mrslaughan Tue 07-Jun-16 17:09:06

I think she could have handled it more diplomatically, however having spent a lot of time riding at the same riding school for about 18 months/2year what I observed was that the same horses were in high demand by everyone- so it was a matter of managing expectations of the customers- because if people felt they could always ask for their favourite then when it wasn't available for whatever reason then the customer felt very put out.
What you need to consider is not only the hours the horses do, but also what they are expected to do in lessons - they are not machines. My horse is at a yard run by a professional show jumper - he competes my horse for me (I also ride her) when she is being competed and in full work she is only jumped twice a week - once at home (not necessary high - it could just be bounces) and then at the show. - then I have a lesson a week , and then we both hack her for fitness (you can do slot of dressage moves on hacks)- what is she only jumped twice ? To not put undue pressure on her legs. Now you compare that with what poor riding school horses do - and they are doing it with riders who are not necessarily balanced , and I beat a lot more than twice a week.
It's about managing there mental and physical health .
So yes , she didn't need to be rude (and so many of them are) , but yes it is unreasonable to expect to choose your horse. Why do you think all of us spend a fortune on keeping our own horses.

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