Kids Ruining Horses

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by spec, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. spec

    spec Full Member

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    The title sounds harsh, but seriously. I feel like kids ruin nice horses!!!!

    I leased my old 4H gelding to a young girl who takes lessons and rides. He’s in great health and they take good care of him; I drop by often and all seems well. He used to be near-perfectly behaved and a really handy little horse. He’s been leased out for over a year now and the parents are complaining to me that he has started to have problems with being barn sour out on the trails (will literally just turn around and walk back to the barn ignoring all her pulling and yanking on the reins)... tosses his head and rips the reins out of her hands when too much contact is made with the bit.... and doesn’t neck rein worth a darn anymore I guess... nothing dangerous, just frustrating for the girl. I’ve watched her ride him before and she’s got typical kid-beginner heavy hands, doesn't ride with her feet at all except to kick him to go, and doesn’t really understand neck reining (pulls the rein over and causes the horse’s nose to go the opposite way). She takes occasional lessons from a trainer who does barrels and stuff (I don’t think the instructor is worth a darn) but mainly just rides him around their property and shows 4H.

    I rode him the other day and had none of the issues, except him feeling a bit duller in the bridle. I feel like all his “behaviors” stem from the girl’s riding and that he’s sick of being yanked on. But I also feel like I should help her overcome these issues. What’s the best way to go about saying, in a kind way, that the kid’s riding is the reason this horse is acting out?

    To those of you who have lesson horses or lease out your horses to beginners: What’s the best way to keep them tuned up while being ridden by kids who I swear are out to ruin them!?!

    TIA
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Not to lease them out to unschooled kids would be my first suggestion. Irritating as all get out, but I'd never do it.
     
  3. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    Having a clear contract.

    If I lease Sparky to a beginner or near-beginner, I put in my contract that they have to have weekly lessons. No lessons, no lease. Simple as that.

    I don't do off-site leases with him and I only do partial leases. But even if I did a full lease, I would either not lease him to a beginner or have a clear contract requiring regular lessons and giving me the right to take a ride on him at intervals to ensure he was kept up on training.

    I will not lease to anyone without a written contract, I don't care if it's my best friend. I wouldn't lease to my own mother without a written contract. A contract protects ALL parties.
     
  4. spec

    spec Full Member

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    Good point. I have other horses now so he would just sit if I didn’t lease him out. I don’t want to sell him because I owe it to him to be his retirement home when that time comes (he’s almost 20). Plus he is a great beginners horse just because of how level headed and tolerant he is. I figured I’d do a good deed and offer a good horse to a good family. She just isn’t a good rider, and I don’t know how much say I have in how she rides the horse since he is leased.
     
  5. spec

    spec Full Member

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    We have a “contract”. It doesn’t cover those things though. It’s more like vet and farrier care and such. They are down-the-road neighbors so I feel it’s a situation that I am in good control of. It’s not really a barn and lesson situation. They haul to lessons but not often because it’s an hour drive. I would love to give her “lessons” myself (honestly I did give a few informal ones last year when she first got him) but I don’t want to deal with the risks and insurance concerns that I hear horror stories about. I do get over there to ride him a couple times a month and keep him tuned up, but I feel like that doesn’t help her situation with him because her problems are riser errors. :/
     
  6. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    Kids dont ruin horses...people that put horses in the hands of a child without proper training and supervision ruin horses.

    My own Daughter got her first hoese at 5 and was showing breed at 7. She did not ride without super vision she was 18. Her horse was ridden at least once a week by myself or trainer until she was 12. She still takes lessons.

    i would not lease a horse for a child unless it was in a training prpogram.
     
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  7. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    I leased a horse to a 4Her once. I let them know not to put a tom thumb in his mouth and they just complied. Does she ride him in a different bit?
     
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  8. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    Well, except you aren't because you feel like your horse is not being ridden properly and is being allowed to misbehave.

    Another thing I put in every one of my leases is that both parties have the option to end the lease at any time for any reason. I don't want someone riding my horse who doesn't want to and I want the option of stopping the lease if I don't like how things are going.

    You have a say in how she rides the horse because it's YOUR horse. It's always best to set the boundaries at the outset but if you see problems, the best way to deal with them is to address them. You don't have to give the kid lessons but you can put her on him and walk her through how he's trained to work, letting her know that's how you want him ridden.

    Kids can't learn to do it right if no one shows them how. If she can't take lessons, at least offer some tips. Or take the horse back.
     
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  9. Peanut Palomino

    Peanut Palomino Senior Member

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    If you don't want to end the lease, then I would offer to give her lessons.
    Explain to the mom AND kid (kids often listen better than their parents, believe it or not) that you think the horse's behavior is due to her riding technique but that you'd love to help her and the horse reach a better partnership through lessons. Either you or your chosen trainer.
    Most people want to learn, they just need the opportunity to be offered to them in a way that won't bruise their ego and make them defensive.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    The leaser getting decent lessons is important, but when most kids ride, they unschool horses. That's just par for the course.

    So in most riding schools where horses are giving up down lessons, the trainer has to periodically get on the horses and correct all the bad behaviors they are developing. Sometimes an older kid who is further along in their riding, will be able to keep most horses from getting too bad.

    And there is a point where you just say no if you are really concerned about your horse's schooling. Parents wanted to lease my old horse because he was trained to a higher level and I just said no. I couldn't afford having to reschool him and fix things because there just really was no time to be fixing things. Too much for the horse to learn and no time for him to unlearn. And with the upper levels of dressage the more you have to fix things, the more likely the horse has confusion and mistakes later on. So for example you can't let anyone on the horse who messes up the changes, because once they are messed up they are not going to be mistake free in competition. Fixing and redoing things always increases the number of mistakes a horse makes in competition because having to redo things introduces a degree of confusion and uncertainty in the horse. The horse is constantly wondering 'am i being asked to do it way # 2 now, or way #12, or what.' In competition the horse has to absolutely be certain with no confusion because there are lots of distractions. So, rather famously, people say that when Reiner Klimke was asked how to produce such well schooled horses at a higher level, he said, 'don't make any mistakes'.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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