Having troubles with my lesson horse


New Member
Sep 3, 2021
I have been riding for 4 months now, a majority of that being on a 15 yo gelding named Saxon. I learned to turn, trot and tack up with him. Recently, however he had 2 weeks off due to mud scalding on his legs (and he also has arthritis). When he came back from his break he was very fresh, very flighty and acting very different (I think this is normal because he was so fresh) he refused to let me touch one of his back legs. He's always an angel while tacking up, and we had good lessons until after this break.

I get on him and it takes a LOT of leg pressure to get him to turn and fast walk, and when I tell him to trot he goes into trots quickly but he almost immediately takes a sharp turn and trots to the exit.
When I first learned to trot on him I let him take control sometimes (BIG mistake I know) because I couldn't turn well (and still can't use leg pressure well during rising trot but Saxon doesn't give me much chance to anyways), so maybe he thinks he can still get away with that now? I can't stop him with body cues or saying 'woah' and 'easy' (but my body was very loose because I was shocked and not doing my best) so I lightly pull on the reins, and he continues to trot with his head pulled up.

Sometimes I stop him before he gets out of the exit but sometimes he goes out the exit. I instinctually use the reins to turn back into the paddock (I'm working on using leg pressure only) but he was literally shuffling sideways away from the entrance. I had to get off him and lead him back into the paddock and get back on. This happens every lesson to varying degrees. I'm dreading going to my lessons now and feel like a failure

His ground manners are always great (but I can tell he doesn't have a lot of respect for me) and he's always an angel being tacked up.
I know I'm doing a lot wrong and I can't find what to do anywhere on the internet so please give me some tips!

Also, my instructor is on leave so my new instructor just leads me to the field and leaves so I have no help from anyone. She also barely knows much about horses.

I think other people can stop him, just not me.
I know it is my fault and I'm a bad rider but I don't know what to do and how to get better especially because I don't have an instructor or any help. Please give me some tips!
Last edited:


lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
New Zealand
Firstly, regarding the title of your post - I'd say neither. Just sounds like a typical disillusioned riding school horse + beginner rider situation... it happens all the time. You have not been riding long enough to call yourself a "terrible rider" so please get that idea out of your head.
Secondly - I'm a little confused as to the language you're using. You say "lesson" and "instructor", but it doesn't sound like you are actually having lessons or being instructed! Being led to a field and left is not a "lesson". It sounds like you're just paying money to be given a horse to sit on and then left to your own devices? If that's the case, I'd suggest you go and find a proper riding school if real tuition is what you're after.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
I was also going to say that's not a lesson, what it is is a recipe for an accident. If your normal instructor actually teaches then I'd wait until she's back, if she isn't much better then I'd find somewhere else to go where you'll actually get a proper lesson. I'd have my doubts about anywhere that allowed a "lesson" like you're having at the moment though, so my gut feeling is find a new place.

For the record it isn't wrong to use the reins and you'll struggle to ride any horse with leg and body cues alone. Hands shouldn't take priority or be rough but they are certainly part of the equation.


New Member
Aug 18, 2021
Sounds like you need to be on a more responsive and less jaded horse to enjoy your lessons again-just to get your confidence up. It also sounds like you need a different instructor who is willing to work with you! Some lesson horses can be pushy like that, and it can wreck your confidence if you are new the riding. In time you will learn how to make all different types of horses 'go' by learning and adapting. I'm glad to hear you are looking for somewhere else to ride.
  • Like
Reactions: jem_

AJ Yammie

Aug 24, 2021
You should also ask if the hirse is like that for other riders. If so it might not be a problem with your riding or it just being a lesson horse. It could be spoilt by other riders too and be a problem with the horses training, I believe the term of what he was doing is being “nappy” wanting to go to a place of safety or rest. My old lesson horses Robby used to do it, he’d get to the end of the arena (big reining arena) and he’d stop spin and bolt back to the gate. I brought it up with my coach and he helped me with that
  • Like
Reactions: jem_


New Member
Sep 3, 2021
Just to update, I moved to a new riding place and I have had 3 lessons since then and it is AMAZING! I learnt more from those 3 lessons that I did in over 6 months of lessons at the other place, the horses and trainers there are absolutely incredible and I am now looking forward to my lessons all week <3
  • Love
Reactions: GaryB and carthorse

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
That sounds wonderful. Please continue to join in on the forum to tell us about your journey. You never know you may help other people who find themselves in your situation.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
E Hi, my name is Denise....my call name is Empy. Thanks for having me on board! :) Cafe 13
Ale Having fields harrowed, rolled and reseeded. Horse Care 11
Ale Having a dry winter turnout area. Horse Care 11
domane Having to Log In each time? Forum Technical Help & Site News 7
Huggy Having trouble getting onto newrider. Forum Technical Help & Site News 14
S New here - thanks for having me! Cafe 6
zerika Having problems with horse not listening to my aids and being nappy in general. Training of the Horse and Rider 6
L Having a moment Cafe 3
froghorse Having Issues with Heels Training of the Horse and Rider 12
C Cost of having a horse Money Saving Ideas, Tips and Remedies 27
MaisieMoo Having a fab summer!! Cafe 6
Ale Having a bit of a rough time. Cafe 32
chunky monkey I'm having a bad week Cafe 7
GaryB Having a moan! (Updated!) Cafe 24
Native Lover what you having for New Year Dinner :) ( add a photo if you want) Cafe 16
DaisyAM Moving Yards - Having a Wobble Cafe 16
L Having things 'just incase' Cafe 6
L Having 2 horses and a full time job Cafe 14
L Horses, having time and not comprising their care Cafe 2
Wally The girls having a think Cats, Dogs and other Animals 3
Cremola Foam having a confidence wobble again! Confidence Club 5
Ale Ale having a jump! pic Cafe 8
L Work with them or having your own horse?? Cafe 14
P Having different work/life schedule - is it possible? Cafe 7
mu0ljk Having a Wobble - what have I let myself in for?! Confidence Club 8
L Having bandages on for too long? Horse Care 37
squidsin I'll have what she's having Cafe 9
joellie He is having a feel good day Cafe 6
L Having fun with your horse. Cafe 6
em_123 Having such a wonderful time!! Cafe 4
horseandgoatmom UGH anyone having FUN yet Cafe 13
caroline/halle Back to having horse full time Cafe 11
Mrs_T Returning to riding after having children First Timers 26
Mike Hope you are having a great Xmas Cafe 7
mystiquemalaika Abigail having a mooch around :-) Cafe 10
sjp1 Tobes is having Shoes Off tomorrow - am now anxious!! Cafe 14
sjp1 Having Loved Livery Yards, Have Finally Had Enough!! Cafe 11
Mary Poppins Having a tricky time..... Confidence Club 22
Ale Well this is painful! having great fun.. not Cafe 15
Ale I keep having the craziest dreams! Cafe 10
bitsnpieces Having my arse handed to me on a plate... Cafe 14
Tina2011 What you having for tea? Cafe 10
Tina2011 Who is having people they don't want for christmas? Cafe 12
Tina2011 Having a nice day Cafe 9
em_123 Safe to say I won't be having a lesson from him... Cafe 21
Ale Boyfriend and I are having the chat.. Cafe 64
Trewsers I'm having a weird day... Cafe 16
R Does the perfect yard exist ? Having a bit of a moan. Cafe 11
sjp1 Am Having a Stress!!! Cafe 8
OwnedbyChanter Still having bit issues help please Tack & Saddlery 14

Similar threads