View Full Version : Beginner's Blues?
Hi - I would like to begin this posting by congratualting Mike on the site - it's a fantastic resource and to have Heather Moffet contributing is a real bonus!
My problem is probably not uncommon... Having ridden for five months, I now have my own horse and am lucky enough to stable her at the yard I am having my lessons at. Until I had my own horse, I looked forward to riding with a passion.I was never nervous and rarely feared an accident. I focused on my riding skills and seemed to make good progress.
However, since I've had my own horse, things have changed. At first, while I didn't realise it, I no longer looked forward to lessons. I enjoyed grooming and working on the ground with my horse but riding her was a bit of a battle. She has a new test for me every day. One day, she won't pick up her feet; the next it's "I want to go left, not right, so there!" and then it's "I don't fancy that little crtoss pole after all!"
she has come on well, and now I am beginning to enjoy lesons again, but the problem is hacking out. She ignores traffic of all shapes, sizes and speeds but she spooks at everything else! She's strong, too, and I know I haven't the slightest chance of holding her back if she decides to go.
I've begun to tense up on hacks and she senses this. The result is that she spooks and jogs and yaws and sticks her head in the air all the time. I'm beginning to dread taking her out. Is there a sloution? Or is it just a phase beginners go through?
2nd Sep 1999, 11:59 AM
Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your horse. Did you take anyone really knowledgeable when you went to try the horse, or buy her by yourself?
I have to say that this horse sounds entirely unsuitable for a beginner, however well you were progressing. If she has the type of nature who is going to 'try you on', she is a ride for an experienced person, who she may give no trouble at all. In a couple of years, you would probably be able to ride her without difficulty.
My advice is either to have an experienced rider shcool her regularly, and you ride under superviosion, which is probably impractical for you. My advice is to re-sell her to a good knowledgeable home, before she becomes a real delinquent, and then you will have a real problem horse on your hands which will be difficult to sell.
Then, look for a suitable schoolmaster on loan preferably for a year to eighteen months. You need a quiet, older horse which has really seen it all, maybe a litttle slow, but will give you confidence. Then after a year or so, you will be ready to progress to a horse which again, is not a young, greeen animal, but you could look for a horse which has done some dressage up to elementary level, who will be well schooled and mannered and still be able to teach you things. A rider is in no position to school a horse until they have several years of good riding experience under their belt, and to fully understand the biomechanics of improving the horse.
Do keep us in touch with what you decide- where do you live Jo?
2nd Sep 1999, 05:58 PM
I understand what you're going through - the same thing is happening to me. I try and be positive and confidant but it isn't as easy as it sounds. Fortunatley I'm on a share arrangement so it's easier for me to change. It is disheartening but the situation isn't totally irreversible, I think Heather is right - hope it resolves itself soon.
Thanks Heather and Scarlett for your replies. I did take someone knowledgeable with me when I bought the horse and she picked up on a couple of problems, nothing serious.
Heather, I am lucky enough to have her ridden by very experienced riders. The difference in her behaviour after a good schooling session is incredible! She tried her nonsense with one of my instructors last week over a simple cross pole, got told off and then took it her stride as thought it wasn't there.
She is a placid mare - a Welsh Cob (Section D, 14.3hh and build like a tank!)There isn't a malicious bone in her body, she is incrdeibly gentle. That's something in her favour!
You mentioned having her schooled by experienced riders - next week the college students begin work at the yard and they will ride her a couple of times a week. I ride her three times a week at the yard and NEVER take her out without either my instructor or a very experienced rider to accompany me.
In truth, she hasn't done anything awful to me - it's just that I don't seem strong enough to school her effectively. I never take her into the menege without my instructor so she never gets away with her silliness as I am made to correct her, but it's hard sometimes!
On occasions, she's perfect and puts some of the experienced school horses to shame on hacks when they spook at things she ignores. Then, she'll set my confidence back by trying to insist on following the other horses in the menege and ignoring my signals.
I live in Wales, UK, and the yard ride at is the most respected establishment in my area - and for miles around. I'm happy with the way she is treated there. I am only hoping that, when she is ridden on a regular basis by good riders, she will reach her potential. I expect, though, she will have to learn that I can handle her, too. Will she continue to test me after she has learnt to behave perfectly well with others? I am very fond of her and do not want to sell her on. If necessary, I will allow her to be ridden only by experienced riders and take lessons on school horses, say, until next summer. Would this help?
4th Sep 1999, 03:30 PM
I hope all works out well with your horse - it sounds as though you are doing all the right things with her, and she sounds as though she has a very nice nature.
What part of Wales are you in? (I am also from Wales!) :)
Hi Clare, I am from South West Wales - Llanelli - if you know it.
Thanks for the encouragement. I rode my mare today and she was excellent - but I know the pattern by now, tomorrow she may be a perfect brute! I rode out on a hack, which she likes. It's schooling that's th problem...
5th Sep 1999, 03:18 PM
Yes, I know Llanelli pretty well - I am from Neath, and my parents used to like to vist Llanelli on a Saturday for a change! :)
I have just bought a horse too - well 2 weeks ago, and he is very well behaved out on a hack, very safe, but does not like being schooled very much - he won't misbehave, but gets bored very easily and it is very hard to get him into a good outline.
I wanted to keep practising leg yielding and other schooling things for my sake as much as his, but he is making it quite difficult to do, as he is constantly looking at what is going on around him! He has done a little bit of dressage according to his last owner, and he did a few simple movements with her when I went to see him, but do you think he will do them for me?!!!
The last owner did wear spurs in the school, where as I have never worn them and do not have any, so perhaps I need to give stronger aids - oh who knows? I suppose you can't have everything perfect!
I don't know Neath all that well but I do have a few friends from the area.
I think I have to cool down a bit and stop getting anxious about achieving everything other learners are achieving. I'm comparing myself with people who have ridden for several years so I must concentrate on going forward properly and getting my mare more responsive to the leg. My instructor rode her for me today and she went fine - apart from one little tantrum that was quickly sorted out. I rode her breifly and she was fine. I think it's easier to be in the menege on my own as she wants to follow other horses. I can take her in when I want to but then I fear she will get away with things because I don't know how to correct her properly - like she may go to the middle when I want her to keep to the track and I won't be able to make her obey me. I will just have to get her to focus on me in the school and not follow others like a sheep. Part of it may well be my fault as I tend to tuck her in behind another rider as it's easier for me! So, from now on it's "Listen to me" and getting her to go forward purposefully, even if it is in walk and trot only.
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