Why own a horse that is difficult to ride?

Discussion in 'Horse Riding' started by EVP, Oct 27, 2012.

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  1. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Unless of course you are 'into' training of these "difficult to ride" equines, why do people choose to own (and continue to feed and care for), horses that they either can't ride, don't enjoy riding, or maybe are even afraid to ride?

    When our world is so full of doing the normal life things, wouldn't you think owning and riding a horse who is a pleasure would be a priority??

    Why do people punish themselves with horses who give them grief, cost them endless amounts of money that they really don't have to spare....AND who put their lives at risk??

    Horses = recreation, enjoyment, therapy, time-out, me-time, exercise....NOT.....reluctance, fear, anxiety, chore, pain, injury,guilt.

    Why not get rid of the nervous, unpredictable, potentially dangerous mount who has you spending hours wondering what you do/did wrong and what you can try/buy to fix it.....and get a horse who is pleasurable to be around, safer to ride, sounder to ride, and who has you buzzing with joy everyday??
  2. Diana

    Diana Gold Member

    Not disagreeing with you :)
    But...you asked the question :p

    - Trying to prove something
    - They feel it's not the horse (that's me - I'm a wuss and the horse is really not doing much wrong, it's just I need to toughen up *currently working on my issues*) so moving on would just take the issues to the next horse...
    - They can't bear to a) sell the horse with it's issues to someone who may also find it too much & neglect it or b) put it down
    - They've never known what it's like to own/ride an easy horse

    I don't know either *#)*#)
  3. Shera

    Shera Active Member

    I think quite often it happens by mistake. I own a few and when I ride them I'd consider them very quiet to bombproof. But I think if a less confident rider got on they wouldn't feel the same.
    I think a lot of horses that are great with confident/capable riders can be difficult in the wrong hands.
    It's not necessarily any ones fault when a nervous rider buys a horse that behaves perfectly for someone else. Bad habits can develop over time sometimes it's not foreseeable until it's too late.
  4. South Boulder Boy

    South Boulder Boy Well-known Member

    I think alot of people, especially those who are either young or haven't been in the game as long, aren't very good at self judgement. They think they can handle these horses, think they are making improvement or doing really well and think they can prove to others how 'awesome' they are. When in reality if they took off the rose colored glasses they'd see that they aren't quite capable yet. And some do see that but then they may find it hard to admit defeat because they will feel like they've failed. For some its a simple mistake which is easy to make. I used to think I could ride well, which I could, but it wasn't until I started riding racehorses that I realised my stickability needed ALOT of work but the only way to find that out was to do it.

    It's not a bad thing but people should remember that the difference between a good horse person and a crap horse person is a good one will be able to admit when they're out of their depth and do something about it.

    And then there are the really great horse people who take on crap horses to retrain so that horse will have a better chance at a good life, I admire those people who can turn a horse around.
  5. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    EVP, in a lot of ways I completely understand your queries - have had them about myself on more than one occasion over the years!

    On some level, every rider (from complete beginner to Olympic Champion) has that feeling of 'fear' or nerves or trepidation. Horse riding, by its very nature, is a bloody dangerous sport!

    In a lot of ways, I think the 'mentality' is somewhat akin to anyone who participates in any sport - and in this case an 'extreme' sport.

    I agree that there are a number of people who own (either by sheer lack of knowledge or hapstance) 'unsuitable horses... however, anyone who attempts this sport, and continues on, is both a 'horsey nut-case' and stubborn! *#) lol

    Most people who own 'unsuitable horses' either a) come a cropper or b) learn a shite load over time (or, in some cases c) continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again! These people, fortunately are actually relatively rare)

    In all honesty, I don't believe that there are too many riders that would want 'the perfect' horse - that read their mind, got it right every time and required absolutely no effort or skill on the part of the rider... mistakes are part of the challenge and an important part of the learning curve.

    If it was easy, everyone would be at the Olympics ';' :D
  6. katers93

    katers93 Well-known Member

    Depends how you look at it. You say having a difficult horse is dangerous and not worth the time or the money. Personally, I am not physically or mentally satisfied if I don't feel like I am constantly learning and challenging myself.
    I have an older mare who is now retired. I got her at 15 and she had done just about nothing. She was an absolute pain to train, difficult and yes, often dangerous. After years of nothing but hard work she came to be an amazing horse. The horse that everyone told me was untalented, dangerous and not worth my time is now a horse that I cherish and you could do just about anything with. After overcoming those sort of issues I also have a lot of pride for the work that I put into that horse and some really great memories.
    I now have a younger horse who is even more difficult to deal with and, at times, it can be very frightening to get on her and ride. But I am not stupid, if I think she is too dangerous to ride then I go to groundwork and work through issues until I am confident that I can get on without too much risk of getting hurt. Then again, there is always risk, and the quietest horse is capable of anything. That rider that is skilled enough to react quickly and ride capably is in a better position to deal with difficult situations.
    There are some attributes that I would not deal with, and in that sense I don't know why people would buy those horses in the first place. Both my horses are extremely good natured and once a training issue has been overcome they are absolutely gold. I would not invest my time in a horse if I did not see anything in them. That might be talent or it might just be a good natured horse that you enjoy spending time with and working with.
  7. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    OK.....yes horse riding can be a dangerous activity. Just like driving a car or swimming at a beach or taking a shower.

    It still seems to me that the average person who works or has a family or studies ect ect ect, would find owning, riding, loving a horse more rewarding if that horse was one that wasn't 80+% challenging?

    If a rider/owner has no plans whatsoever to show or compete why the need to challenge one-self with a horse? If riding a horse is challenge enough why the desire to push the envelope?
    So who is being challenged and who is doing the challenging? I think there is a difference.

    If an owner/rider was content to have a horse that didn't challenge them, would their level of enjoyment be less or more........and at what point do you actually think that "enjoying more" is a far better alternative?

    Like actually making the choice to only have things the easy way.....rather than accepting the hard way.

    Horses, for the majority of us, is purely for the love of it......when there is more challenge and less love its time to get rid of Ned and get a Ted?

    And why don't people recognise the need to do this.....is it a form of self flagilation.....lolol
  8. Fe

    Fe Well-known Member

    I agree with you EVP. Mainly for those that just want to have fun with their horses and dont really want to aspire to do much, why not have a good horse that you can enjoy. I suppose even those that compete at a high level, why not have something that is easy and enjoy.
  9. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Yup agree, why put up with crap when there are so many good ones out there. Not saying you can't have a horse that challenges you or has quirks, but how often do you hear peoples continuous battles and bad experiences on a horse you really have to wonder why they continue on with it when it is destroying their confidence and possibly their future with horses?? move it on to someone who can handle and deal with any issues and get something that you enjoy spending time with and boosts your confidence.
  10. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Fe, who is to say that one persons aspirations are 'less' than anyone elses? ';'

    To some, my 'aspiration' of just riding at a fair-dinkum dressage event, at Prelim level, is a pretty poor 'aspiration' - to me... well, I would be absolutely beyond thrilled to achieve this!

    To others, their 'aspiration' is to be able to confidently take their horse on a trail ride... again to them, a huge achievement!

    There is a difference between a 'difficult' horse and a 'dangerous' horse... and a whole lot in between!

    Dangerous horses are (imo) those that rear or bolt... Difficult horses are, well, probably 90% of all other horses! lol

    It is an extreme sport and those that participate strive to be the best they can be... and that comes with challenges, failures, tears, frustration and triumphs. It is the Nature of the Beast, so to speak :D

    ETA: And yes, there are some people who are completely crackers, completely out of their depth, completely convinced that they know it all and completely convinced that they don't require any help - and these are the people that usually have 'dangerous' horses and who shouldn't ever have any horse! Just my opinion, of course.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  11. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    I think most people who retain horses like this genuinely love the horse. There's also the question of: how do you sell a horse that has 'issues', especially if you care about it, and where does it end up?

    Generally speaking, these owners do invest a lot in terms of time, money (lessons training etc) and most of all emotionally. It becomes a great challenge and personal goal to overcome whatever dodgy behaviour the horse exhibits. Then it becomes a case of gaining enjoyment and satisfaction from the small victories in training rather than achievements in competition or whatever.

    I think most people who keep these types of horses get interested in training out of necessity. Where would professional trainers be without them? :) There's a whole sub-industry built around 'problem' and difficult horses. The ones that don't, or lose their nerve end up with an expensive paddock ornament. As long as the horse is cared for properly, there's nothing wrong with that.

    The person who bred my two horses still owns my gelding's dam, and it frustrates me to see she never does anything with that awesome mare and she's 'going to waste'. The owner is a small lady and more used to ponies so she lacks confidence to get the bigger mare going. But she loves her to bits and wouldn't dream of selling her, takes awesome care of her and she's just a spoiled pet. Horse and owner are happy so I don't say anything any more. ';'
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  12. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    There is a good saying....."there are horses for courses and people for horses" :)

    What this means is that some horses are for bold confident experienced riders and handlers only, these are unforgiving horses, not necessarily dangerous horses ;)

    In fact I would say the inherently dangerous horse is a rare thing with some kind of physiological or biochemical disorder. Most inappropriate horses just suffer human induced problems. Horses become disrespectful or fearful out of poor handling with some poor people having the knack of being able to turn the most kindest hearted most forgiving horse into a fearful or disrespectful confused creature that will spook at its own shadow or walk over the top of them or drag it's feet and refuse to go forward.

    I find the people with the most horse problems are usually the most intelligent, compassionate and empathetic type of people that think and analyse too much and tend to anthropomorphize the horse.

    So it is not necessarily the case of people hanging onto inappropriate horses...it is just the type of horse some people tend to create and the type of behaviour they accept from their horse! Sometimes it wouldn't matter if they got rid of the horse and got a new one as the new one has a good chance of going the same way as they make the same mistakes :(

    Here is a great YouTube clip to a Buck Brennaman DVD where he addresses how to overcome fear of a horses...basically it is just understanding them, horses are actually really predictable creatures:

    Buck on Fear - INTRO Disc 4 - YouTube
  13. Lacey

    Lacey Well-known Member

    I have a mare who I don't class as difficult but a lot would, to me she is super responsive and very hot. Some days I do ask myself why but she teaches me so much about timing, seat weighting and sitting still.

    I do agree and see some people try to persevere with horses that are just not suited to them and ask why?!? It's meant to be fun.
  14. Elanda

    Elanda Gold Member

    As a teenager I thought of it as a "challenge", and turning a tricky one into a good one is very satisfying. When you get to a certain age I think it just gets too hard. I like to enjoy the time with my horse, not have to battle it now:)*
  15. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    been there, done that, with a difficult horse & questioned our partnership manyyyyyyyyy times over the years.

    at the time, when i was truly disheartened, i persisted for the following reasons:
    - the type of person who could ride him happily would not WANT another difficult horse
    - i wasn't ready to give up
    - i felt i could learn a lot more
    - i couldn't recoup my costs & then would be unable to afford to buy another 'nice' horse

    and holding on to him was the best thing i ever did for my horsemanship. through him, i met exceptional people, including my wonderful instructor who i also count as a great friend. despite having horses for 25 years before he came along, he taught some fundamental principles that i hadn't *needed* to know before.

    i KNEW i needed significant help with him tho and i sought out help and instruction within 4 months of ownership when it was VERY obvious it was not working out and he was NOTHING like the cruisy, easy going anglo i had had for the 16 years before that (whos retirement prompted the purchase of said difficult horse).

    the most devastating thing tho, was not the hard bloody work, money, sweat and tears it took to get his mind right and us able to work together, but the fact that he broke down after 5 years and that was the end of his riding career. now he is a paddock ornament in a fancy retirement farm & sometimes i still daydream about bringing him back into work (where he is miraculously sound)... but he is quick to remind me of just how damn HARD it was dealing with him even when i go visit & he panics & throws himself about from separation anxiety.

    i now have two very very nice, easy, uncomplicated riding horses (one, i part lease to a teenager), who are so much fun, and i am THANKFUL! but i feel my difficult horse taught me so much, and for that i am also thankful.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  16. Zegger

    Zegger Well-known Member

    Because I love my horse and I'm not going to just get rid of him because he is difficult.

    He is a pain to ride but he has a good heart.
  17. Lin

    Lin Well-known Member

    Because I'm too lazy to find another one. :)
  18. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    I think it usually becomes obvious at the start if the horse is going to become difficult tho, and perhaps that horse isn't moved on then because ppl think they can fix it or they're too lazy or its just in the too hard basket.

    I was horrified and shamed when i first realized how difficult it was with my boy and I had a LOT of soul searching moments and a good friend of mine compared it to being in an abusive relationship - something I had never experienced before and i think I did a lot of self talk that a lot of ppl in that situation might actually do. E.g. He'll be good TODAY.... And that idea would sustain me for weeks.

    Thing is, when I'd finally had enough and decided to sell him, I rode like i had nothing to lose, and worked the crap out of him 5-7 days per week, an hour plus at a time) because hey, he's more marketable in work... And whattaya know, a fit, busy horse and a less emotional rider resulted in a much happier partnership and Was the true turning point for us. After that, tho still frustrating at times, his behaviours became special or quirky rather than terrifying. Idk...

    .... And enough about me, sorry.
  19. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    Haven't you had yours since he was a teeny baby tho? That's a whole new kettle of fish. It's like family!
  20. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    ^^^^Lots of likes.:p

    When I was younger..between teen and 30, I enjoyed taking horses that others had given up on and turning them into stable, happy, worthwhile horses.

    I enjoyed the purpose that it gave me, and I enjoyed the start at a new life it gave the horse.

    I was successful 99% of the time, the only non-successful horse was one that came to me with a Previously broken jaw that had been set wrong and I had that horse PTS as it would have deteriorated to the point of not being able to eat.....I later learned to always look in a horses mouth. The owners of this horse had hoped I would not notice her jaw, but it was very apparent when I went to worm her upon her arrival............they had been too gutless to PTS so had passed the problem on.:}

    Once I got over 30, I took on less problem horses, and now I wont do it due to needing to protecting my back.

    Once Shilo is no longer rideable, I shall hang up my boots.
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