Having troubles with my lesson horse

jem_

New Member
Sep 3, 2021
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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:

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
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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.
 

carthorse

Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
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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.
 

Finalcanter

New Member
Aug 18, 2021
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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.
 
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AJ Yammie

Member
Aug 24, 2021
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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
 
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jem_

New Member
Sep 3, 2021
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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
 
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chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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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.
 
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