Crap, I Broke My Horse

Trainer J’s past words floated through my head the moment I did it. I could hear her anger. It was the only time she ever got annoyed with me. Or at least the only time she let it show. You’d think I would have learned but old habits die hard.

It’s a knee jerk reaction. My lizard brain thinks “Imminent death! Abort! Abort!” and next thing you know I am pulling my horse off the jump he locked on to.

Bam. I just taught him how to run out.


I’m really liking the bright teal on him. This Weatherbetta pad is really nice too. It has a vented spine and the cut fits him nicely. I may have to get more.

It took a long while to fix it again. He is a smart cookie. He learns everything the first time, good and bad.

I had set my jump circle too tight for my skill level. I couldn’t make the turn and knew I needed to make it more forgiving, so I hopped off and moved the center jump farther out creating a larger circle. Once I got back on he he got angry that he had to return to work and he lost his calm and cool work like attitude he had had from the very start of the ride.

So he was looking for a fight. He knows he won’t get out of it by squealing, curling behind the bit, or shaking his head. He barely even tries that anymore. Even after two full days off and a cold snap returning.

I was too lazy to drag my fourth jump out so just did three sides of the circle which I then started introducing as single jumps before stringing them together in a full circle 

When I picked up the trot he was tense and tucked his chin to his chest but I ignored it and we went over the first vertical at the top left of the above picture heading right. Once he landed he took off. I had him semi steering and made the arc to the second jump but he sped up at the last minute and I knew it was going to be a launcher. I’m just starting to get comfortable cantering my jumps and I am not to a point where I have even the slightest idea how to get his canter more adjustable or fix the last minute super rush.

I should have sat back and let it happen. It’s only 2′. Let him figure out that that won’t work. At the last minute he veered slightly left and was heading towards the standard. A well timed left leg would have pushed him over and centered him on the jump to go over.

Except there was that “Abort! Abort! Death! Pain!” screaming inside my head and I pulled left off the jump instead of shoving him right with my left leg.

Even still he was being a mostest bestest good boy from the very start. 

It wasn’t a true run out. Not that time. I had given him permission to say no at the last minute.

It took 45 minutes to convince him I didn’t mean it. The next time I went to jump he veered left and out of the jump.

Damn. I broke my horse.

I made him circle immediately all the while scolding myself pretty hard. Never teach your horse it is ok to say no to a jump. Never. Commit and go over or die trying. Well, maybe not that hard core, but you get the point.

I circled him tight and made him jump that jump and then he tried to barrel away again to avoid the next one but I got him under control and over we went. Jump three he ran out. I could feel it coming. I knew I needed more left leg. I didn’t pull him off but I didn’t stop it either.

Eventually I got my crap together and forced his butt over every jump every time. I dug my left leg in and over he went. We went around going left and once we did all three jumps in a row he got a break before we went right.

Ok…I feel dumb. I’m used to the straps on the saddle pad going around the billet under the flap. This pad has extremely short little straps that do not reach to the billets so I used the front d ring. Is that correct?? I’m guessing this is so that you can till use it with a monoflap saddle?

Only he smashed through a jump and I had to get off to fix it and then mount again. Once again he was angry we were not finished but I made it happen. It took only three or four attempts before we could canter around the circle over all three jumps without any issues and then I called it a day.

See how short it is?

I’m really hoping I didn’t break him. I didn’t stop until I had fixed it but ugh. I knew not to do that. I knew it!!!!

Thankfully while he is wicked and smart and lazy he is also pretty forgiving and tries to give me what I want so fingers crossed this isn’t a new habit I’m going to be fighting for years to come.

21 thoughts on “Crap, I Broke My Horse”

  1. At the end of the day, and after some time, all of the issues they have are usually ines we give them. That’s encouraging because at least we know where they come from, which makes fixing them easier. You also taught him that you’re not willing to throw him over something he’s not set up to take correctly. While he got his bitchy beast mode engaged, hopefully by the end of it he also gets some confidence and trust in you out of it too.
    I always cut the straps off of the saddle pads. Their just annoying and don’t really do anything IMO.
    Don’t beat yourself up. This is a journey and a relationship. It’s not all roses all the time, and sometimes it’s our fault and sometimes it’s their’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Bitchy Beast Mode” Hahahahahahha 😂 That describes is perfectly. I figure every ride is teaching us both things. Hopefully he learns a) getting out of work is harder than just doing it and b) I won’t let him die. And me? I’m learning just how smart and tricksy this little gelding is

      Liked by 2 people

  2. aw womp! i wouldn’t worry too much about it tho. sometimes we have to make a few mistakes to learn how to prevent them in the future! the teal does look good on him 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly? It takes a lot in my to break a horse. Considering the number of times I pulled Subi to a stop in front of a certain jump one lesson (and fell off about 3 times because this jump scared me to death) he never became a stopper… Batt is a stopper and was never taught that. Ranger drops and ducks, but if you ride to the jump and sort of point him in the right direction, he’ll go over. So, really, it takes a lot. Now, if you pull him out of every single jump for the next year or 2, then we can talk, ok?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By the end he got it that running over the standard or saying no really wasn’t an option and only creates more work. Things like that tend to stick with him so when I ride tonight I’m hoping it doesn’t take long to remind him

      Liked by 1 person

  4. He’s a smart guy and sounds pretty forgiving overall. I don’t think you broke him. 😉 You’ll experience successes and small setbacks together and be all the better for it. You’ve got this. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you’ll be okay! As Liz says he sounds pretty forgiving, and I’ve made worse mistakes on horses just as smart, and when I made myself re-approach the issue with determination for myself to guide the horse as well as getting the horse to do it, it worked out just fine. So I don’t think you broke him!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly horses are pretty resilient and since the fences are small it won’t take you too long to fix – if you ever get worried cantering up to a fence (we all do from time to time) and since it’s small, you can always bring him back to the trot if he’s rushing too much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is typically my go to but uh someone was not in the mood at the moment and I couldn’t get him back in time so instead of jumping the standard I pulled him left off it. I should have used my leg to move him back center but oh well. At least I know what I need to do even if I didn’t do it in the moment

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I just got yelled at for letting pony die off to a jump, as that leads to stopping or ducking out too. The horses that rush a fence get stopped in front of the fence or circled if distance is bad so you weren’t wrong, maybe just a little late in execution. 😉 Naughty ponies gonna be naughty. They will look for any excuse to not work. Im mentally not up to cantering jumps so we are just working on trot jumps, its ok to live there for awhile since you don’t get to ride that often right now. Also love the teal.


    1. I’ve been trotting jumps for 2 years and really want to be cantering. I think I need to set up an easier exercise to start with but I’m no good at striding so I don’t like setting up related jumps. Why this so hard though? LOL


  8. Good job for sticking it out.

    And yes, you are correct, those little straps are for attaching to the saddle D-rings. A couple other brands like LeMieux also use that design and I personally love it. I don’t have a monoflap saddle but the other style of saddle pad straps just always seems to fit awkwardly around the blocks of my saddle so this avoids that issue.


    1. Thanks! I thought that was where they would go. Weatherbetta basically copied the LeMieux pad with a lower price point. Lots of people hate the straps but I always use them and I agree with you that they interfere with the blocks on this saddle when I use them on the billets. I like the d ring placement better


  9. Happens to everyone at some point, try not to beat yourself up about it, I am sure he will be ok soon. As you said, he is a very quick learner.

    Yes the straps are supposed to connect to the D rings of the saddle, Weatherbeeta copied the Le Mieux pads and that is how the Le Mieux ones work.

    They’re up there to help maintain wither clearance through the channel.


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