View Full Version : sharer for disabled rider's horse
6th Jun 2008, 09:28 AM
What are your thoughts about getting a sharer for a horse owned and ridden by a disabled rider?
My disability involves balance problems and weakness in my right leg and arm. I own a WelshX mare and have spent lots of time and effort training her to my specific requirements, like standing at the mounting block, voice aids and very good ground manners.
Now I am pregnant and coming to face the fact that I need someone to ride my horse and contribute to the cost of keeping her. A sharer would be the obvious idea, or maybe even putting her on loan for a while.
But I am quite worried what will happen if my horse gets ridden by someone else for such a long time. I have no problems letting my trainer ride her, or even friends I can trust - but that only happens once in a while and mostly when I am there to watch.
Most able bodied people do not seem to understand how very important it is to me that things are done exactly the way that it easiest for me. They might not think anything of it if the horse walks off from the mounting block before they have both feet in the stirrups, etc.
Do you think my horse would stop behaving for me if she gets handled by an able bodied rider? How difficult would it be to re-train her to my aids? :confused:
Are my worries reasonable or am I just being paranoid?
6th Jun 2008, 09:44 AM
I was very worried about this as well when I had a sharer. My horse responds to the very lightest of aids, and I mostly ride with my seat and voice aids. How he is handled is very important, as any kind of barging, pulling or bad-manners in hand could result in a serious dislocation.
As you say, he needs to stand for me at the mounting block until I am on and secure. There are a thousand other little things that our horses learn for us to help keep us safe and make our lives easier.
Back in September last year, I had to have a sharer for financial reasons, and I was very concerned that his behaviour might change with a different handler and rider. He did test me a little bit in a "well Aunty lets me do this, so we'll see what Mummy thinks!" way, and once he did actually pull me off my feet to reach some grass, popping my back, shoulder and wrist in the process - something he had never ever done to me before. I realised, on watching my sharer walk him to the field, that she was letting him dawdle on the end of his rope, snatching at grass, rather than walking him on in a business-like way. Once I mentioned it, and the safety implication for me, she was more careful to lead him in the manner I did.
Realistically, because I was still looking after him and riding regularly, his behaviour didn't change too drastically. I've noticed that he seems to remember that Mum needs a bit of extra help, and while he can be an utter swine for other people, he is usually impecabbly behaved for me, so I think even when I haven't seen him for a few days, he remembers and if he does try it on, it literally takes a single reminder for him to realise that he can't behave like that with me.
Make sure that whoever you decide to share with is aware of your disability and specific ground rules. Don't let them think it's just "how you do things", make sure that they realise these rules are in place for your safety and to help make your life easier. Most people will 100% understand, and be happy to learn how you need things doing, such as not moving away from the mounting block immediately, picking up feet on a verbal cue, etc.
In my own experience, I don't think they "forget" as such. It seems more of checking their boundaries with you after another person has permitted a certain kind of behaviour, and as I said, a short reminder session (such as a few minutes of asking for them to back up when you come to the stable door, or asking for them to stand at the block for a count of ten or twenty, to give you time to get secure) they seem to recall it. Funnily enough, some people just cannot get Sal to pick his feet up by pulling his fetlocks or feet around - he wants them to ask nicely, and on the verbal cue, will pop his foot into their hand :D
8th Jun 2008, 11:01 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience, Sez. Like you said, there is a million little things our horses do to keep us save and to be honest I am not sure I would think of every little thing an able bodied rider would do differently. So it might not be easy to teach them how to handle my horse. Also I am worried about not finding anybody at all if I ask for too many things.
If your horse started testing you even when you were riding him fairly regularly I am scared to think what might happen when I get back after not riding at all for a year or so. :(
Maybe I should resort to plan B and sell my mare.
8th Jun 2008, 11:56 AM
Could you not put up adverts in a local RDA? You may find very willing people ready to move on to outside a riding school - that way you know that the horse won't get away with people doing things 'able-bodilied', if that makes sense?
8th Jun 2008, 12:13 PM
I have a similar issue approaching, nat is having surgery on her feet sometime in next 12 months and will be out of action for about 3 months. She rides her way, using only one leg and backs up with her whip (due to her cerebral palsy added to which she is only 6) Pony has become accustomed to this and I am scared to let anyone else ride him incase he has to learn Nats way all over again. Not sure which would be worse though, that or 3 months off x
9th Jun 2008, 02:46 AM
I worry about this with my own horse even when my friends i trust ride and I'm able bodied but i don't like her getting away with things like not accepting the bit when i put it in front of her etc If you look around you should find someone who is responsible enough to understand why things get done the way they do. just get as many people to see and ride her and see what they are like and if they give you that feeling of being the right person to share your pony
10th Jun 2008, 03:40 PM
If I were going to ride your horse, Silvia, I would expect you to ask me to do things in a certain way. I would want you to teach me how you do things. If you expect her to stand motionless while you get on then I will expect the same and so on. I would ask you to make me a list or ask if I can make a list as I followed you around.
I would be as concerned about spoiling her as you would be about me spoiling her!
I think you have every right to lay down rules with a sharer, if they don't understand why you have those rules then they aren't the right sharer for you.
12th Sep 2008, 01:47 PM
Thing is that you have to remember a sharer is just sort of loaning YOUR horse, its the same as owning a home and renting it out, Because you own it its your rules, like no pets then no pets ect.
If the person that wants to borrow your horse really wants to borrow it, then they will be more than willing to learn how you do things, and if they are not then simply wait for someone who is.
But to be honest I think you would find people are more willing to listen to you and how you want things done because, thats what the horse is used to and following how you do things is the best way to get the horse to do as its asked without any problems.
After all its not like they know the horse you However do.
12th Sep 2008, 05:09 PM
Ditto the advice above.
If you find the right person, they will be willing to do things the same way as you.
I'm in a similar situation i'm able bodied but mine is ridden and competed by 2 disabled riders. There were some just simple things that my horse learnt so that he could do the best job possbile in caring for them. In return I changed my way of riding to suit the way he goes with them. As a result I have a much more responsive and relaxed horse. I'm so grateful for the opportunities the 2 riders have given him.
12th Sep 2008, 09:18 PM
I am going to come at this a totally diffrent way. I have a TB mare who has competed in BD dressage up to National level. Her last show was over 2 years ago may be even 3. She now gets ridden when I have the time and energy after doing my other horse. I only really hack her and that is mostly walking as I don't trot on the roads. Due to many years of dressageing when I hacked her then I used to let her dawdle on the end of the reins, snatching grass and stopping to sniff poo. I know all bad habbits but it was our chill out down time. Well I still let her do all the above so really she is never worked in an outline. But sometimes I get stuck with my other horse so I drag the TB mare in to the school ask her to come round and practice the aids for half pass or my sitting trot. I am not mean as I only school for a few mins but this probally has only happened 3 times this year. Yet when I go in the school she comes round, yeilds to my aids, does not eat the overgrown hedges or stop to sniff the ground for other horses.
Another example when I had my accident both horses where off work for months, I did not have to reback them to ride them again. Just in case it sounds like my horses are saints they are not. Both ditched everyone I put on them after my accident when I wanted some help and they certainly can do their best to ditch me like whipping round and galloping off due to someone closeing a car door.
If you loan or share your horse with a genuine sensible rider ask they don't let the horse get away with standard things like walking off as they mount. Even if your horse's behaviour is not quite what you would like when you start riding after the baby it is likely to only be a short bit of boundary testing probally for only the first time you ride. Think about the most severley disabled Para dressage guys they quite often have their able bodied trainers school the horses. I don't think a two legged trainer would ride the para horse with only using one leg but I would also guess they don't ride heavy handed on horses who are normally riden by light or one handed riders.
If you find the right person and your horse is the right one for you I would try a sharer or when you get back in to riding you will have to start again with a new horse any way
Good luck and congrats on the baby
13th Sep 2008, 10:45 AM
In my experience working at an RDA stables I have found that horses are incredibly aware of who it is riding them. We have a 16hh ID who is a perfect saint with disabled and novice riders, stands nicely, is quiet and attentive, absolute gentle giant, I've known loads of people get over their fear of horses with him.
Put an experienced able bodied rider on him and the second he thinks he sees an open space off he will gallop, usually dumping them in a ditch on the way.
But the next day, back to disabled riders he will be back to his gentlemanlike ways.
Plus, as has already been said, any sharer that doesn't agree to ride the way you require is just not the right sharer for you and doesn't deserve to be near your horse.
14th Sep 2008, 10:41 AM
The girl who helps me at the livery yard with Rubi, is often criticised for being 'severe' with her Fjord pony. Severe?? Severe??????:eek: That's not what I's call severe. It's what I'd call insisting on the best manners anyone can possiblyexpect out of a horse. Fjords can be opinionated little horrors I'm told (like a lot of native ponies), and I'm sure he'd soon take the mick if I rode him, but the minute Kate is on his back.... it's 'yes ma'am!' I checked before she went anywhere near Rubi in case he was being ruled by the iron fist so to speak. Nope he was not. He was getting the odd smack for trying it on, but that was it. As far as I can see, he is discipline with love, respect and kindness, and I think people are a tad suprised to see that talent and maturity coming from such a young girl. And that's why I let her school Rubi for me. And honestly Silvia....I haven't seen any detrimental effects from it.
There is sometimes a little stirring on the yard, and stories come back to me that she 'does this,that and the other' with her pony...'and she did it to Rubi too!!' Ooooh, must tell Monty! Pay a visit from time to time, if you can...you'll soon be able to detect if things are changing, and early too. Watch your sharer mounting, for example. Even if she mounts 'your way'...when you're watching, you'll be able to tell by your horse's reaction if she doesn't normally do that. Trust your sharer, I'm not saying ignore if people tell tales, just investigate quietly, and make your own mind up.Despite someone of the things I'be had reported to me, I wouldn't swap Kate for the world. And I even think hat it now gives her a sense of satisfaction too. It can be a very valuable partnership if you find the right person....go for it. And enjoy being a mum too!!!!!
14th Sep 2008, 01:09 PM
Thanks for all your comments. At the moment a girl at my yard rides Jessy for me and so far things are going o.k., although I would like her to be a bit firmer with Jessy when she tries to sneak out of working in an outline.
Sadly I'll have to find someone else when my current sharer goes back to university in October.
I really hope I'll find someone locally - I could put Jessy on loan with a friend, but she lives on the other side of the country so I'd hardly ever get to see her.
18th Sep 2008, 03:01 PM
have you thought of letting her have a year off ?
i did this with my mare with no ill effects :) it actually did her the world of good, i can leave her for months and get back on and she is fine :)
22nd Sep 2008, 03:19 PM
That's a difficult thing to for sure. I ride an RDA pony and I try to keep things like mounting the same as if she was doing RDA. Plus I use my voice and she response well to that.
Good luck with what ever you decide
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.