View Full Version : A Little Scared

07-01-06, 04:33 AM
Sorry for the post being so long, but i need to tell the whole story.

In May 2005, i bought my first horse, a 13hh 19 year old Welsh cob called Sandy. has the best personality that i have known in a horse & is a realy gentleman when he is being ridden.

I know that horses try and test out their riders so that they can try and gain the upper-hand, but it has made me lose my confidence.

I am fine if he pigrids, bolts, or bucks, but his tricks just seem to make me tense, and i get scared easier.

He has tried lots of tricks, like bolting, getting up against the fence around my arena, and walking away while i am trying to mount, but it has really made me lose a lot of confidence.

He isnt a bad horse, i love him more than anything, but it just makes me lose my nerve, then i get all uptight, and he knows that he has won, so he decides to run to the fence while i am trying to jump him, & he just doesnt seem to want to listen to me some of the time.

It is not that he is not the right horse for me, he is a true gentleman, but i was wondering if anyone had any tips that might help me with my confidence whilst i am riding.

Please post a message if you can help. it would be very appreciated :)


07-01-06, 04:44 AM
I would definitely get lessons, they will give you the skills, knowledge and confidence to deal with him.

07-01-06, 04:52 AM
He sounds like he is a lovely horse but is being a bully. You need to be the boss again. I believe you should start with ground work. Get him backing up for you, leading appropriately, walk him over poles and even start lunging him (if you know what you are doing).

My partner is a novice and we were given a sweet SB but because he is aware my partner is nervous he has started to do a few little things. Nothing as naughty as yours but is getting harder for him to catch or even just touch. I explained to my partner that alot is bluff. King the horse was aware that he could get away with it from my partner.

My partner was getting disheartened that I could handle this horse easily but he couldn't. I explained why and now my partner shows who is the boss. He gets the horse to back up and to walk forward when he asks. He gives the horse some attention such as scratching and makes sure he (my partner) is the first to walk away. When we feed our horses we make sure that they wait until the food is in the bin before they have access to it and to make sure they don't crowd us when taking their feed out. King is showing a big improvement now with my partner.

Horses need to know who is the dominate leader and they need to be showed everyday and I don't mean aggressively but you use your tone and your body language so they are aware. They will respect you more and should be easier to handle and alot more safer.

If I haven't explained what you need to do in enough detail feel free to pm me, though don't worry you should get some really good advice from others.

Good luck and remember he is a pony and you are the boss. He just needs to be reminded. Start off on the ground as this is a overall respect issue. If you have someone else (a decent rider) that can get on him and give him a good work out for a few weeks then by all means do it. Let him be put in his place (not abused though) and you should find a huge improvement. If you can afford some lessons that would be great, if not get the assistance of a more experienced horsey friend.


Simone ~God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses ~

07-01-06, 04:52 AM
Reminds me of my first pony.. She was a 13.2 Welshie X, she would bolt for no reason whilst i was riding, especially showjumping and sporting.

Despite everyone telling me to get rid of her I kept her and kept at it.

I had lots of lessons and did pony club with her and by the time I sold her she was a little gem.
She hadnt changed her ways, I just knew how to handle her better and what would make her behave!

My advise is to get a good instructor who knows how to deal with pigheaded ponies.

I am grateful that I never fell off her in one of her "tantrums" and it has made me a much more stronger and confident rider for having her.

Hope this encourages you!

07-01-06, 04:56 AM
Hello horseluver601,

Could you give us a little more info, how long has he been doing this, is it a recent thing or has he done it from the start. Have you had his teeth, feet and back check out, what are you feeding him (if anything)

The loss of confidence is a big thing, I have one Mare that I wouldn't ride for about 6 months, after a few things I lost total confidence on her, I could ride the other horses and put up with their crap, but with this horse, I just lost my nerve.

Are you able to have lessons, this would boost and help you, I have been having lessons on my troublesome mare and she is starting to come around really well, I am way more confident with some one else around, to watch on and offer advice. Another option is to lunge him prior to riding him, it is not a solution, but it might help you with building your confidence until you feel you donít have to lunge him as much and than not at all. If possible have some one hold him when you are about to mount.

Good luck with him, glad to see you are not just giving up and selling him on, which in most cases would be the case, but do remember your safety is the FIRST priority

07-01-06, 05:05 AM
sorry i wasn sure what info people needed. :)

to start with, he was perfect, & didnt muck up at all, but as i became a better rider, he started playing more & more tricks on me.

I would never sell him, even when i grow out of him, because, even though it would cost lots more money, he is getting older, & i would just retire him when i grow out of him.

As a youngster, up until the age of 4, he was abuse by his owners, & he was whipped & they teased him by staeling his food until he became angry.

He was rescued by the RSPCA, and was taken on by another family, who took lots of care of him, trained him & evented him.

He took the kids of his previous family to the top & he is very willing, but he just plays tricks.

he seems tough & scary, but he is really very timid & a big sook. :)

After we bought him, we had all his gear fitted properly, and his teeth checked & his hooves clipped, & we have his feet, teeth & vet checks done regularaly.

Hope this helps people with any tips :D

07-01-06, 05:10 AM
i have been attending pony club sine we got him, but he cant be lunged because he has been abused, & is terrified of any whip or crop, & i think that if i tried & lunged him, it would make the matters worse
thanx for you suggestion anyway :)

07-01-06, 05:12 AM
i am looking around to see if there are any instructors that are offering lessons.

it is hard around my area though, because i live in the country, & not many people offer lessons. but i might ask one of my mum's friends to come and just supervise a riding session on him

07-01-06, 05:13 AM
i will look into it. thanx 4 ur suggestion :D

07-01-06, 05:21 AM
hmm well Steve Brady always says this & I hope I don't stuff it up, but basically he means this:

Horses need leadership & guidence from their owner/rider/handler whether it be on the ground, under saddle, feeding, handling etc & if they don't get this leadership they either become very nervous in their behaviours or they become dominant in their behaviour.

To show leadership & guidence we need to always be consistent when we are working with them, because horses learn through repetition. Unfortunately they learn bad habits through repetition just as easily as good habits.

The best way to ensure that you are consistent when handling your horses is to learn exercises to work on with your horse. By repeating an exercise over & over you are being consistent. There are heaps of exercises varying from groundwork, ridden work etc etc. They are also many horsepeople available in Australia & O/S with education tools (books, videos, clinics) to help you learn some of these techniques & exercises to work with your horse.

I agree with above. If possible get some lessons soon so that you can enjoy your horse as much as possible.

07-01-06, 05:28 AM
thanx i will give it a try!
thank you for your help!

07-01-06, 05:30 AM
Thanx 2 every1 for giving some pointers. they are very much appreciated. i will give them all a try.
any more tips just add a post
thanx :D

07-01-06, 05:39 AM
Dear Horseluver601,

Now please don't take any of this the wrong way - but I'm just trying to play 'devil's advocate' here and show you the other side of the situation.............

You state in your first post that this is your FIRST horse and from something else you said about getting one of your mothers friends to watch you ride, I'm assuming that you are young, perhaps under 18yrs of age??

How much horse knowledge did you really have and how experienced a rider were you PRIOR to owning this horse?? To me it sounds like you were a fairly novice rider anyway and perhaps have not had much experience in dealing with horses on a daily basis - ie perhaps you had lessons regularly but once you've handed the horse back to the owner/riding school then you dont have much else to do with them??

You also stated somewhere in one of your following posts that 'as your riding got better, the horse got worse and played more tricks'.... I do find that difficult to fathom because if your riding had got better then surely the horse would not have been able to 'fool' you with the bolting, pigrooting etc etc....

Unfortunately all this shananagans has broken down your confidence and now you are having more and more problems with the horse, if this continues down the same track I can imagine that you'll stop riding this horse altogether because you're too scared and wonder what he's going to do to you everytime you get on him - and that would be a shame.

Without being able to see exactly what happens it's hard to say, you say that you go to Pony Club once a month so surely you would get some help from the instructors there??? What are they suggesting that you do with the horse, are they giving you any 'homework' so to speak, things to concentrate on at home when you're not at PC???

I would say that you really need to get an instructor, someone qualified, that can give you some tips on how to better deal with this horse.

If I'm totally off the mark here I do apologise but this is just what I'm reading into your comments.


Summer Rider
07-01-06, 05:51 AM
Don't worry horseluver, you're not the only one out there. The majority of my students at the moment are working through problems similar to yours.
Basically it comes down to control. I find that the only time i feel scared when riding is when i don't have total control over my horse. It is scary to have a 500kg animal underneath you doing it's own thing! :o
The only way to rectify this is to go back to basics. Start on the ground and establish stop-go-turn. Apply a soft pressure and keep increasing it until you get the correct resonse, then immediately release the pressure. Your pony soon learns that life is much easier if it responds to the light pressure. Make sure what you do is consistent and once you have the correct responses and control on the ground hop on and do the same thing. Stop-go-stop-go-turn, making sure you release the pressure immediately when you get the right response. Just stick to a walk until he is listening to you completely and you have adequate control. Then move on to trot, etc.

Definately find yourself a good instructor, preferably one who has some experience in horse training, it will make a HUGE difference, and just having someone else there can boost your confidence :)
Good luck

07-01-06, 06:24 AM
Here are some links dealing with some of the problems that you have mentioned. If you are ever truly worried about your safety when dealing with your horse then you should stop & put him away until you can get some professional help. Horses are dangerous & you could be seriously injured or worse.



07-01-06, 06:51 AM
Hi there Horseluvr

You're not alone. You're not the first and you won't be the last person to find themselves in this situation. I went through all of this when I got my first pony, a 12hh Australian pony with a heart of gold but a cheeky streak. It really does fluff your confidence and you need to repair that. I admire you for acknowledging that your boy has a history that is impacting his behaviour, and admire your loyalty for intending to keep him no matter what.

My thoughts are: you mentioned that this little man is a real gentleman when he is being ridden. I'm afraid that a pony that pigroots, bolts and bucks when you ride him is no gentleman. BUT the beautiful thing about horses and any other animal is that bad behaviours can be replaced with new behaviours.

I wholeheartedly agree that lessons are the way to go. What state and area are you in? There might be somebody here who lives nearby or who can recommend a good instructor that will travel. Either that or could you get an instructor from your Pony Club to come out and give you a private lesson?

Like a previous poster has pointed out, your little man has learnt that all of these things are ok. You mentioned that he didn't do them when you first got him, so it's important to understand that he has learnt that behaving this way is ok. Horses learn through trial and error, so this has probably happened by him not wanting to do something and trying out a strategy to get out of it. Your response has probably not been sufficient to prevent him from doing it again. ie. "She wants me to jump over the hurdle. If I run towards the fence instead, she pulls me up and I get to stop. I don't have to jump the hurdle." He will try this out over and over again until there it has become an established behaviour - that is, this becomes 'normal' behaviour as far as he is concerned.

Time to wipe all of that out and start again. Never, ever lose sight in the fact that no matter how inexperienced you are, with the right information and enough determination, you can replace that bad behaviour with good behaviour. You can learn how to do that.

First, you need to address your confidence issue. Can you ride in a very small area? Even just a yard. Somewhere you feel very safe. Get your parents or a friend to watch and help out if necessary. Don't be too proud to start all over again. Go right back to the basics. Teach him to stop by walking around, breath out, start with the softest possible pressure and get firmer until he stops. Then drop it immediately, reward with pats and rest. Eventually he'll start looking for smaller and smaller signals from you so that he can get what he wants - which is rewards. Do the same thing with turning, same thing with go. Teach him to back up. You'll find that if you can at least start in a space where you feel safe, you'll be able to start out on a better footing with him.

With regard to the lungeing, it's no different. I've worked with a number of abused horses and all of their bad memories and behaviours can be replaced with good memories and good training. Read up or perhaps start up a new post asking for pointers on retraining an abused horse to lunge. It really would help him.

If you have the time, I'd also recommend getting stuck into some books - some good ones are "The Ten Commandments" by John Chatterton or "Horse Control - the Young Horse" by Tom Roberts.

Good luck Horseluvr, we'd all love to hear how you get on.

07-01-06, 07:25 AM
no you're right about it, & no offence was taken.

Prior to getting my gorgeous pony, i did ride for a little bit when i was younger (7) but i stopped because i out grew my little pony (about 10hh) and i went to a few riding school lessons with a friend before i got sandy (im now 12 turning 13 in march).

sandy doesnt seem to muckup as much at pony club because he likes socialising with all of his friends, & is too busy checking out the other horses to be worrying about me being on his back & how he's gonna get me off.

it is not that he got worse, the tricks that he played just became more frequent, & were a bigger problem (as i had to fix them up again, by which time, he had found a new trick)

My mum's friend that i referred to earlier is the president of the pony club executive counsil, and she is sometimes my instructor on rally days.

do you have any other suggestions that may help to re-gain my confidence?

07-01-06, 07:26 AM
thanx 4 the sites. they are very helpful!

07-01-06, 07:35 AM
thanx :)

when i said that he was a gentleman whislt being ridden, i meant that when i ride him, he is quiet, & can easily be controlled--if you have the willpower to put up with his cheekyness. :D lolz

When i was riding him for the first time, he was brilliant--he responded to the slightest aid, listened intently to verbal commands, and jumped like a dream, but as i became a slightly better rider, he thought to himself that he could gain the upper-hand.

as i have mentioned in earlier messages, one of my mum's friends is an instructor at the pony club i go to (& the president of the executive counsil) and she has come over a few times to help me & give a few tips.

thanx 4 your tips. i will try sopme out & tell you how they went :D

07-01-06, 07:53 AM
I agree with you when you mention about him playing up more as you get better at riding him. This also happens with my horse. Its a bluff. He is just trying harder to get out of work. The better I get at dealing with my horses resistances, the more I recognise him trying out new strategies.
Its part of the reason why I love my horse!
GL & as above keep us updated as you progress.

07-01-06, 09:43 AM
hi everyone! thanx 4 all the great tips & support!

I rode my pony again today, and he behaved beautifuly! i even got him to trot over some jumps.

i am gonna keep working with him all year so i can compete in morse shows :D

also he is a very fat horse (i use the term "VERY" very loosly!)
he has been put in a paddock that has hardly any grass in it & is let out to graze for about 2-3 hours every day.

he is so pudgy that his old girth (100 cm) wouldnt fit & we had to get a new elastic girth (105 cm) !!!!! and he is only 13 hh!!!

he gets no other feed except the treats that i give him after a riding session (a bit of carrot or apple) and occasionally during winter i give him and my other little mini ponies a biscuit of lucerne hay about 3 times a week.

does anyone have any suggestions that would help to get him back into shape without starviong him?(he adores his tummy & food)

also thanx 2 every1 for help and tips about how to regain my confidence! i think it is working already! :)