I’m pretty sure that all horse people are protective of their horses and particular about how they are ridden. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many people consider themselves better riders than they really are and here are some of the things I’ve seen people do on my horse that really grind my gears.
1. Posting with their hands
This one makes me physically cringe. No horse should have to deal with it’s mouth every other stride. No trainer should give you your reins until you can properly post using your core and legs: completely independent of your hands. Please don’t tell me that you’re an intermediate rider if you can’t manage this.
2. Squeezing the crap out of my horse
I generally own forward moving to hot horses. Too often I have people squeeze the crap out of my horse and then complain about them being ‘crazy’. In reality, the horse is listening and you are not.
3. When they don’t listen
I once had someone ride Galahad who, while they had ridden Galahad before, had recently been riding a pokey pony. Because of this, I reminded her that she did not need to kick like she did on the pony to ask him to trot. What happened? She gave one of the biggest legs off the saddle kicks I’ve ever seen and Galahad goes galloping around the arena. *facepalm*
4. When they bounce on my horse’s back
I do understand that sometimes you get off in your timing and if it happened only occasionally, I don’t mind. I know my mare Bella has an unusual canter that takes a few times to learn. However, when someone just sits there bouncing on my horse without making any effort to try and have a good seat, I almost lose it. Not to mention if it’s on Bella, she’s absolutely thinking about bucking you off – so it’s a safety thing.
5. When they over correct my horse
I absolutely encourage not letting a horse get away with being bad, as I will mention below, but as I said above, I have hot horses and I’ve had people bang on their mouth and lose their mind at my horse because ‘they aren’t listening’. Before you decide if someone else’s horse isn’t listening to you, take a look at your riding style and behavior. Are you overly tense and stressing the horse out?
Yes, there are times that I have needed to make large corrections myself, but please don’t assume that you need to right off the bat.
6. Letting the horse do whatever they want
On the other hand, if the horse decides to turn around and go home without being asked to, I wholeheartedly expect someone to turn them back around and make them do what they hadn’t wanted to without saying ‘I don’t think they want to ride – let’s just go home’. One instance like that, where they let the horse do whatever and get away with being bratty, means weeks of reteaching my horse that such behavior is not acceptable. Or if the person only wants to do the ‘fun things’ ie running and jumping – my horses are already hot enough. Occasionally is fine; all the time is not alright.
Now, to be honest, I know I’m not a perfect rider. I know some of the people, particularly who do the last two, knew me when I was 10 or something and I thought such behavior wasn’t unreasonable, but I’ve grown up and as my life experiences change, I find I’ve grown more particular about who I want to be riding my horses.
Photos are of some friends I enjoy riding with 🙂