New Member
Oct 4, 2020
Hi all. I’ve been riding 12 months now, in a group lesson, once a week. I’ve been cantering 4-5 months in, and recently started jumping at a trot. The school I go to assigns me a new horse every week, and each horse has their problems which can make lessons frustrating at times.

Sometimes, I ride this one horse who I have a lot of trouble controlling in a canter. Once he gets going, he tends to bomb around the arena, cutting off other horses, cutting corners, and refusing to listen to directions from me to turn, slow down or stop. Even worse, we had a substitute instructor today who egged me on during the canter, and once the horse got going, we were a mess. I know it’s my fault, not the horse’s. Another (much more experienced) rider in a private lesson running simultaneously with mine rode this horse before and he was calm and collected with her during the canter, so I know he’s capable of this. What am I doing wrong?

The same horse also gives me a lot of trouble during grooming and tacking. If I let him eat while I groom him, he’s docile and cooperative. However, if I tie him up, he becomes very salty. He will paw at the ground and refuse to pick his feet up (I’ve tried everything: horse cookies, leaning into him, getting him to move around a bit first, twisting/pulling the chestnut, nothing works). If I manage to get a hoof up, he’ll angrily slam it back down on the ground 2 seconds later. The school insists on horses being tied while grooming (I don’t know why this is), but I’ve given up on this after a stablehand “helped” me by punching this horse’s barrel to get him to behave.

Normally, I ride stubborn and lazy horses. Many of them refuse to turn when I ask. I use plenty of leg pressure, and add the outside rein, but the horse continues to refuse, preferring to follow his friends. Some of these horses also cut corners, especially during the canter. I know I’m supposed to do light pulls on the outside rein as we’re approaching the corner, but the horse takes this as an invitation to slow down to a trot. How do I fix this?

I do have issues myself as a rider which I’m working on. I tend to lean my upper body forward while I post (I get anxious about hurting the horse during posting, so I was leaning forward to make the landing softer). I also tend to stick my elbows out, and my hands are often in the wrong position (too high or too low). I do my best to correct this as much as possible without my trainer telling me, but I’m not sure if these mistakes are contributing to the above problems.

Sorry this is long. Thank you if you made it this far. I haven’t had much opportunity to ask for help.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Hi, first take a breath ? I’ve been riding almost 40 years and still have days I feel useless so you are really not alone ?
Switching horses constantly can make you feel like you’re learning from scratch again every lesson but it really does teach you more than any instructor can, you will end up a better rider for it ?
For the canter issue, try to really focus on riding every stride exactly where you want it, don’t fall into the trap of being a passenger who steers ? ride forwards from leg to hand, to keep that canter going even though a turn, and use that inside leg before the corner to remind him you expect him to go around it not cut it. It’s easy to not use enough leg if you’re worried they won’t turn or stop, but often that makes the problem worse as the fall on the forehand and then tend to lean into your hands more, rather than carrying themselves. Perhaps treat yourself to a private lesson once in a while to work on those little niggly things and give you a boost in your group lessons ?
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Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
What Jessey said. Plus if a horse goes faster when you ride, perhaps you are leaning forward or crouching a bit? I did that when I got stressed or anxious and my boy Ziggy used to think it meant "go faster" or perhaps "I am not in charge, do what you like"!
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