Help me decide please

Star the Fell

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Jun 14, 2015
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I have had Mylo nearly two years now and feel like I’ve got nowhere with him. I can’t ride him out alone, he takes the mickey out of me in the school - falling back into walk as soon as he can from trot, refusing to lunge on one rein, usually, but not always, the right one. He needs to lose weight, which I’m struggling with as he doesn’t work well in the school for me.
On the other hand, everyone else says he has improved enormously since I got him, he can work nicely in a forward trot (when he wants to), if my RI gets on him and canters him, then he will canter for me too if I jump on afterwards.
So, I can either spend my Xmas works bonus on an extra lesson a week on him for the next 12 months or so, get someone to walk beside us to build up his confidence on the road, or I can accept that he’s not right for me and sell him.
However, what would I get to replace him? I think that I am trying to get Star back, which is never going to happen. What if I sell Mylo then his replacement starts taking the mickey out of me, because it’s me at fault for not being a good, confident rider (I know that this is something I have to work on).
Mylo happily hacked out alone for the first six months I owned him, then got frightened and I am not a good enough rider to build up his confidence myself.

I am just on a downer today, I love him to bits and would happily keep him as a pet but it wouldn’t be possible, he needs to work to get the weight off, because he puts weight on just looking at grass.
So, your suggestions are all welcome please
 

carthorse

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Could you get a sharer who was good enough to keep him trimmed up? If you could offer free riding & were picky about who you took it could work very well.

As much as riding lessons would some confidence coaching help you? Is it just riding or other areas of your life too? No need to answer that, I'm just throwing it in as something for you to consider.
 

Jessey

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That's got to be frustrating, I don't really think anyone else can answer it for you and there's no wrong answer either way :)
If you are completely smitten with him in every other way perhaps splitting weekly lessons with your RI so she rides half to tune him up then you ride half so you can get on together, would be helpful for you? It's amazing what regular sessions with a pro can do to help and in a very short time you're left looking wondering why you were struggling.
Equally if you decide to sell, there are those good old sorts out there who don't need a super confident rider for them to be a nice ride, the ones who will look after you and help your confidence :)
 

Mary Poppins

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You sound very down on yourself. Perhaps you are grieving for Star more deeply than you realise?

Horses always present challenges, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ horse and just when one aspect of ownership is going well, another falls apart. It takes energy to face these issues when they arise, and it sounds like your confidence and self-belief is low. My advise is to take some time and not make rash decisions. Take the pressure off yourself and accept the situation as it is today.

Keeping his weight down is the priority, so what can you do immediately about that? What about loose schooling? Will he move if you gently use the lunge whip? Can you restrict his grazing more? Soak his hay? Use a muzzle? Keep him in his stable longer? While exercising him more is the ideal way, there are other options if this is proving challenging at the moment.
 

Star the Fell

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Thanks for the replies.
I am a bit (lot) frustrated with myself at the moment. My regular RI (W) comes once a fortnight. She won’t ride him herself because that’s not the way she teaches, fair enough. My second ‘RI’ (L)is a 23 year old local girl who owns and events 4 horses. She is totally fearless. She does ride Mylo for me and gets him going really, really well. Which is great, but just proves to me that it is me that is the problem, not Mylo. L is now coming weekly and will ride Mylo for 20 minutes, to get him going nicely and then I will get on for 20 minutes and try to keep him going the same way. This is the way I’m going to move forward until my spare money runs out. L says that Mylo ‘isn’t easy’ and says he is cheeky and tries to get away with things, so that makes me feel a little better. My frustration is that he will work nicely for her, then for me straight after, he works nicely on the fortnightly lesson, but is extremely hard work when I’m riding on my own.
I think I am constantly comparing him to Star, but she was 9 years older than him, so a lot more mature, balanced etc.
So, tonight’s plan is lots of transitions - walk - halt - trot - halt - trot, in the hope that this will ‘hot’ him up. L is booked in for tomorrow.
 
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Jessey

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Maybe video your next session and video yourself in a month or two, after the weekly sessions, I bet even if you don't feel like there is any change there will be some to be seen on the video :)
 

carthorse

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So what's the difference between what L does & what you do? And is your attitude different when L is there? I wonder if a lot of the difference is that when you get on after L you believe Mylo will go nicely and so he does, can you replicate that belief if, say, a friend sands in the school with you?

I can understand and agree with where W is coming from, it's you that needs to be able to ride him, not her. Someone sitting n occasionally so you get a feel for what you want can be helpful, but I don't think it's a long term answer.
 

Star the Fell

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So what's the difference between what L does & what you do?

The difference is around 30 years :) L started riding when she was 7, I didn’t start until I was 30, so I have a lot less confidence than her. At the back of my mind is always the fear that if I come off and hurt myself, I won’t be able to work!
The main thing that change when L or W is in the school is that they can both see if I am tensing, blocking with my seat, legs in wrong position etc etc. Plus if something goes wrong and Mylo tanks off with me, it is less frightening because there is someone there to shout out, sit up, lean back ask for a circle. All stuff I know to do, but which goes out of my head at the time
I know L riding him isn’t a long term solution, but he is still learning himself, having done nothing in the school when I got him, so L can teach him what to do, so he has half a chance of understanding when I ask for the same.
Hopefully L riding will be a short term thing and we will change to her giving me a full lesson without riding him first.

Videoing the lessons in s good idea. I’ll do that too.

He went quite well tonight, lots of transitions and a couple of nice, forward trots and a cracking leg yield.
 
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newforest

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I would probably do a pro and con list but not on a downer day.
List what has improved since you got him, what hasn't and what little hiccups you have.

Is having two instructors actually a help or a hindrance?
If L gets him going for you, can she not teach you to get him going for you? What's missing? My instructor won't get on board either. I pay her to teach me, help me. So if mine is being extremely "awkward" her input is to direct me to solve it.

You have just described mine in the comes back to trot at the first opportunity. If I breathe out too long the little minx would take that as a cue. She's on the laid back side, however with transitions and using the school to school- that means you work and I expect it and she offers it.
I keep it short. I probably have one thing I want to work on in any one session. Some sessions are just twenty minutes and we finish. But I have an idea before I get on. Of course if she wants that session to be I can't go down the bottom then we add in that as well.

Mine wouldn't hack out for the first 18 months. I had a foot soldier. That was either the RI or I simply did it. We went for miles like that and then I started riding her back.

Re not lunging that might be worth getting checked that is not a pain issue. If it's him trying out his authority it would be on either rein at each pace. But if it's mainly one and usually canter that could be balance, but it could be muscular.
 
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carthorse

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So what's the difference between what L does & what you do?

The difference is around 30 years :) L started riding when she was 7, I didn’t start until I was 30, so I have a lot less confidence than her. At the back of my mind is always the fear that if I come off and hurt myself, I won’t be able to work!
The main thing that change when L or W is in the school is that they can both see if I am tensing, blocking with my seat, legs in wrong position etc etc. Plus if something goes wrong and Mylo tanks off with me, it is less frightening because there is someone there to shout out, sit up, lean back ask for a circle. All stuff I know to do, but which goes out of my head at the time
I know L riding him isn’t a long term solution, but he is still learning himself, having done nothing in the school when I got him, so L can teach him what to do, so he has half a chance of understanding when I ask for the same.
Hopefully L riding will be a short term thing and we will change to her giving me a full lesson without riding him first.

Videoing the lessons in s good idea. I’ll do that too.

He went quite well tonight, lots of transitions and a couple of nice, forward trots and a cracking leg yield.
Years spent riding have nothing to do with confidence or ability. I know people who've been riding for years who have no confidence and/or are hopeless riders, people who've only ridden a short time who are very confident, confident riders who are dreadful & good riders who lack confidence. To put it bluntly that's an excuse you're making to yourself. If L must ride before she teaches then watch closely what she does & when, compare it to your riding & build it in - use her warming him up as a lesson for you.

It sounds like you'd benefit from a friend in the school while you ride, just to help your confidence. Hopefully then there'll be fewer cases of you tensing & blocking, though these are things you need to learn to recognise in yourself. Is tanking off a common occurrence, and is there a link to times when he does?

With an adult horse that knows how to be ridden from hacking it shouldn''t take long to get the basics in in the school, essentially all your asking him to do is the same as he does hacking but in a confined area. The aids are the same, as is the movement, all else is technicalities.

You can do this, the question - and I'm not being nasty here - is do you want to?
 

Star the Fell

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Thanks @newforest im glad I’m not alone in this. Both L and W teach in similar way. I have had W for a few years now and like the way she teaches. L is only a short term plan and simply because she will jump on Mylo so she knows exactly how he feels to ride, so if she sees I’m struggling with him, she can offer up solutions having ridden him herself.
I plan to keep both on unless it does become a problem
Re the lunging, I think it is a dominance thing. Which ever rein he starts on he tends to do well on, then when I stop him to change over, he refuses to let me even stand on his other side and just moves his bum away from me . (It may also be worse on his right rein because I am then holding the lunge whip in my left hand, so don’t have as much control of it being right handed.)
The canter I think, is just excitement as it’s still ‘new’ for him, so he either rushes into it, or bucks into it.
 

newforest

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I lunge a few different ways in a few different places.
I lunge off the halter or bridle and coupling, I don't need to go near her to change the rein. Maybe alter what you are doing so he alters what he is?
I change the rein in walk across the diagonal or down the centre line. I may ask her off the track and back over as a half loop. If she's got a nice active walk I don't want to stop her to go and find it again. :) If we are out in the field I just change it as I don't use markers.
Usually halt means we've finished or something has gone wrong or I need you to stop while I put a pole back in place.
An example was flicking my whip and looping it round the fence and I had to let go and go back for it, her deciding to lunge with the line through various legs. Me dropping the line completely when she took off.
I have to say when the vet used her to teach the students how to lunge- because she's really good and knows what she's doing. Oh I know she knows alright the little minx!
Have you thought of having a lunge lesson for both of you, if one or both of you lack confidence it could help?
 

Star the Fell

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Decision made.


He is staying. He is doing really well in the school now. The saddle fitter remarked on how much he had improved since she last saw him 6 months ago.
He is slowly improving on the road with a foot soldier next to him. We went out yesterday and 4 cars came towards us. The first two passed at about 30 ( in a 30 zone) and he tensed very slightly, but no fuss, the third slowed to around 20 and he didn’t even blink. The fourth came passed at about 40 and frightened him. So basically we would have no problem if drivers did what they should and slowed down. I have a friend lined up to ride out with us on Sunday so we will see how that goes.

I have bought a jacket with an outline of a traditional cob, and his name printed on the back, so he has to stay now :) :)
 

Huggy

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Oh my word! He sounds like Hogan mark 2! I'm glad you're keeping him - you're obviously ready to do what it takes to make it worth it, and he's a lucky horse to have someone willing to invest in him and make him the best horse he can be. Wish you all the luck in the world :)
 
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chunky monkey

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Glad you've turned a corner. Stay positive and dont beat yourself up if you have a bad day with Mylo.
I go through bad patches with Billy still. But in 3 years we have come so far when I look back at the crazy things he did when I first had him. My mum has said a couple of times that Billy was a bad choice. I have to agree with her on this. Some days I have wanted to sell him and some days I could murder him. However I have worked hard and found ways round some of his quirks. But we still have some quirks to work on. But because of this journey and my perseverance i have learned many things and how to bring on a youngster and above all I think it has made me a better person. I'm sure if I sold him to the right person he could do very well. However with his quirks I really think if I sold him now he would be a horse that gets passed around which would be sad as he is a nice lad and I saw it in there when I bought him.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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I have to say I hack out daily and I don't fancy cars passing me at 30 or 40 mph so I don't blame him. I guess my solution would be to find somewhere to avoid roadwork as much as possible though don't know how feasible that is where you are. I hack out on a horse I can totally trust to be a twit when he wants to but brave as a lion when I ask him seriously to be. So we are lucky.

I am hopeless at school work, just not by thing at all. So I don't do it! Sometimes I think you have to do what you enjoy rather than force yourself to do stuff because it's sort of expected.

In terms of the reaction he has with other riders, this is always going to be the case. I used to hack out with a friend on a horse that tanked off with her all the time. when I rode it I never had an issue with it. But she could ride a decent dressage test and I can't and don't really care much if I can or not. Horses pick up on what they think they can get away with, I found doing NH stuff hard at first as getting the don't mess with me body language was so alien to me. I find now if I just raise my shoulders ears go up and I get a good attention.

I am sorry if this isn't making much sense but I learnt the most from a horse that is unbacked, my Suze. She was feral and terrified and I was able over years to form a bond with her, so now she is a chilled happy girl. My trainer's approach was always less less less and don't push. Insist and persevere where you have to but keep giving them praise and encouragement for even the tiniest effort or attempt to try it, even if it is wrong. At least they are listening and wanting to help you out. He had a theory of horses having a filing cabinet with three drawers. The first drawer was the I am terrified of it, the second one I was terrified but I can just about cope with it and the third drawer was the whatever drawer, I'm chilled. Items move around within the filing cabinet so something one day is in drawer 1 moves u p to get to chilled, but can move back down again and vice versa. The name of the game was to get as much into the end drawer and have as little as possible in the front one. It also applies to people, you would probably be surprised how much you have filed in the chilled whatever drawer that you have forgotten about.
 

newforest

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The b road I use used to be a 60 and it's now a 40. The local villagers campaigned to get it lowered.

Mine tensed when a tractor went past carrying something on it forks that were up. Tensing is fine, taking off not fine. I see tensing as the same as us on board getting anxious to be fair to the horse and us. It happens from time to time.