There are many people who flat out refuse to let anyone else ride their horse and I never fully understood this. If one ride by someone other than you or a professional will “break” all the training, then I don’t think that horse is all that well trained after all. Kinda like a rider being made better by riding multiple different horses, I sorta feel like a horse gets better by being able to be ridden by multiple riders.
Though maybe my opinion was based on always having riders who were better than me hop on my horse.
Gem was always up for grabs, not that many people took me up on my offer. Not sure why, HA! I had people take her on the trail and a few hop her around xc and I always loved watching someone else on her. I never once worried about the rider having a negative impact on her. Mostly I worried they would get hurt or get off and hate me for the experience. Gem was an interesting ride.
With Eeyore…my mind set is shifting. I’m feeling a bit more protective of him and his training to date and finding that I’m not really wanting to share him so much. Which sucks because I sorta promised M I would. Again, where is that money tree so I can lease her a horse for the year?
I think that once she takes a few more lessons on him, I’ll feel better. Nothing bad has happened it’s just…ugh I don’t know. So here’s the thing.
Last night I wanted to ride and M asked if she could join me. Now the plan isn’t for me to lose my riding time each night but instead for her to ride him on the days I don’t up to a max 5 days a week. But for now it’s best to share a bit until she gets used to him.
I hopped on first and took him through our typical warm up for which he was a saint. It was like riding butter. He never once broke gait, tried to take charge of the path or anything. I took him through the trot poles (he stayed in the trot and took them like a pro) and over the verticals (he trotted in, calmly hopped over and then sedately cantered away) then called it good and handed him over to M.
Now this isn’t a rag on the poor girl. She was sore from Monday, the heat is still killing her in about 10 minutes and well…Eeyore isn’t a kid’s lesson horse. I don’t know the horses she grew up competing, but I know my Eeyore and you have to ride him. If he can tell that you are just sitting there, he will take over and you won’t enjoy the experience.
So anyway. I handed her a pliable, slightly pokey horse and what I watched ensue was…well not that.
I stood there watching her ride and it hit me like a sack of bricks. I was watching myself from 4 months ago. He refused to trot and would break to the canter every time. It would then take her multiple laps to get him back to a trot. She tried the ground poles and he launched over them taking both in a large jump stride. He cut the corners. She wanted to try the vertical and since it is only 2′, I figured it wouldn’t kill her. He broke to a downhill canter then super man launched from 2 strides out, landed, cut the corner immediately after and galloped away mildly out of control. She lost a stirrup, took 5 laps to get him to trot (and only did so because I yelled out “Eeyore TROT” which he listened to) and then slid off with a dazed and sorta scared look on her face.
That was me pre Trainer AB. Not dangerous, but not even slightly in control either. And here I was thinking how much Eeyore had changed. How much better trained he had become. I was wrong. Eeyore is still the same Eeyore. I’m not the same Sara.
As I watched this go down I thought “I hope she doesn’t break my horse” not in a physical way but I really worried I’d get on him and have that horse under me again. I got back on him and asked him to trot. And guess what? He never broke gait, went over the trot poles steady and rhythmically, hopped over the vertical from a trot calm as can be. It took a bit louder of a discussion to get that but he settled immediately and gave me what I was asking for.
Walking back to the barn I was filled with mixed emotions. First was a major boost in confidence in my abilities to ride this horse and get what I need out of him. Second was a bit of worry for M and Eeyore as a pair. I told her that she doesn’t have to ride him. She asked about Gem and Pete and I told her Pete is fully retired and is not to be ridden and Gem. Well, honestly if you don’t like Eeyore chances are you will hate her in the arena. I don’t have easy, super well trained horses mostly because I can’t afford to buy super well trained horses. I can afford Eeyore and a whole bunch of lessons.
So I’m not sure what she will do. I told her I can set her up with Trainer AB lessons on Eeyore or sign her up at a h/j barn on lesson horses if she would prefer though she would need to pay for that on her own. If she wants a free ride, Eeyore is what she gets and she will need to learn to ride him. On my end, I admit to being not quite as on board as I was before to the idea of sharing him.
It’s taken me months of hard work, dedication and training to get him to the point where I can start to focus on new tasks: rounding up and “being on the bit”, proper bend, sitting trot work, course work. I have zero interest in back tracking to the half crazed, hang on for survival rides of the past and my interest in watching someone else suffer through that is minimal.
I can now see why people aren’t so apt to share their horse with others.
12 thoughts on “Horse Sharing”
You have an Appaloosa. Full Stop. It’s all about relationship. And Eeyore is obviously very relationship centered. Does that sound crazy? Yep…But if M wants rides like yours she’s going to have to build that relationship too. He doesn’t know her, and he doesn’t love her. He has no motivation to perform or be good for her. Maybe have her start with some ground work with him – Lyons, Parelli, Brannen, etc. It might give her something new to learn, in a safe environment, and help her build a relationship with him. This is also reinforce training he knows, without interfering with what you’re doing now.
I think horse sharing is good when the horse is ready for it. You’re his partner, and will know what is best for your team.
It’s pretty great to feel our relationship grow under me. He isn’t at “will walk through fire for me” stage yet but there are a lot of things he never would have done a year ago that now he looks at me, sees that I’m calm about it and then relaxes. I didn’t know much about Appys before I got him. This part of him is pretty special.
He’s pretty awesome. Y’all have done good things together and will do even more. But you’re always going to be his first person, this go to with M kinda shows that.
I wonder if some lessons with you or your trainer for a few weeks would help? And then she can free ride? If someone wanted to ride any of my horses I’d certainly have eyes on the ground who know the horse and make sure the rider knows how to ride them. A pro could hop on and figure it out, but she may need some hand holding for a while?
I tried to give her a mini AB-esque lesson but she either couldn’t or wouldn’t listen. I told her the next time she rides at home will be flat work with me giving a lesson. Otherwise it’s under the eyes of AB.
I know for me, I do like to share my horses, but when the horses are ready. Amber and Whisper are so broke and know their jobs and cues well enough that I know anyone could ride them and be fine (horse and rider). But definitely in their developmental stages of training, I was pretty reluctant to let someone else hop on them. I find that when I am reluctant to let another person ride my horse, it’s for the fact that I’m retraining the horse, or working on a difficult concept, so I feel that the horse needs more consistent rides than letting someone else hop on them and perhaps letting them sink back into a bad habit that I’m working to correct.
I think you two will be able to work it out. I think it’s a huge plus too that you were able to get back on him, not revert to your old riding habits, and get out of him exactly what you had in the beginning. That’s progress for you and Eeyore if you ask me!
It is progress and I’m so happy with him. And with myself to be honest. I think you are right too. Maybe not all horses at all stages of training are able to be shared with others.
In blogland there used to be a lot of “my horse is so special – only I can ride them” – Black Stallion syndrome stuff. And while I preferred not to share my horses with some riders, I do think that the mark of a lovely well trained horse is one that will and can be ridden by anyone.
With young horses especially I think they can be easily confused by different people’s “butt prints” and it’s good to just keep them focused on one butt print for a while until they understand the rules of the game and I personally then start throwing anyone on them once I know myself my horse is safe for others. I think it’s really important since my horses are usually for sale and need to get used to other types of riders on them anyway.
That being said, since she has ridden in 2+ years she’s probably really out of shape, even I got out of shape going from riding several times a week to maybe once a week in the 6 months – 1 year after having Ramone. And even now I tend to be pretty passive the first time I ride a new horse. Lessons with your Trainer and supervised rides with you will help her figure him out, gain confidence, acclimate to the weather and gain fitness.
With Gem I never cared if anyone rode her. In fact I loved to watch others with her. But I wasn’t really training her for anything and we kinda has reached the pinnacle of what I was going to do with her. With Eeyore it’s different. I still feel like we are building together and I’m not sure I want to disrupt that. I still feel that it is important to create a horse anyone can ride Im just not sure I’m ready for it right now
I dont like sharing. I understand why it is good or at times necessary. But I dont like it. Only-child syndrome? Maybe.
My last horse was a beautiful push-button all-around competition horse, and occasionally I would share him with others perhaps out of pride or hubris. I would watch them flail about getting leg yields when asking for canter, getting extended trot when asking for a stop. It was funny and pointless.
My new horse is an andalusian, and with him its all about the bond and the relationship. Riding with him is an exercise in telepathy. He is so sensitive that I barely use any aids, but I do need to correct him when he anticipates.
I dont want anyone muddling the message with him. I enjoy the telepathy, trust and respect that comes from exclusivity. Other horses and riders are better at sharing. I am not.
And I am not interested in making him better at adjusting to different buttprints, because I do not plan on ever parting with him.
That said, I think its great to teach M groundwork at home, and have her lesson with AB. But its also ok to have her ride Gem if thats what you want. You could then trailride together???
Our next attempt is a planned trail ride with her on Gem while I figure things out with Eeyore. In all honesty she’d probably be better off muddling around with Gem. She is tense, quick and hollow but she doesn’t pull out any tricks. Well beside running out or stopping to most fences. The two of them might actually enjoy each other more than Eeyore would gain from her fitness work.
I unashamedly do NOT like sharing my horses with ANYONE unless I know them well and feel they are a better rider than myself.
I am no saint nor paragon of virtue but I do not believe in subjecting my horses to someone flopping around on their backs for the fun of it, or having them yank, crank, pull, kick etc. because they lack skill or understanding. When someone else is on your horse you have limited control. I am less concerned about them breaking my horse than I am about making them uncomfortable.
If I don’t know them, it’s absolutely no go. If I do know them and they’re a beginner/intermediate rider my current horse definitely isn’t suitable with his current attitude. But even if he was back to normal I would say no. Just because he can put up with it doesn’t mean he should.