The Mistakes We've Made

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Arem, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2014
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    My biggest mistake was not being firm about ground manners from the get-go with Bella. She came with none installed. None. She bit, kicked, struck, reared and had no concept of personal space. None of it was malicious. She has, and has always had, the softest eye in the world. She was just confused, impatient, and ignorant.

    I got after her for the biggest violations but didn't push hard on the littler ones. So while I'd get after her any time she struck out, I was apt to let it pass when she dragged me halfway across the path to grab a bite of grass. Or I'd get after her when she reared but if she was just bouncing around, I'd put it down to too much energy and just try to keep moving.

    The problem of course was that she had no idea what the rules were. Because there weren't any hard and fast rules. I was working from the point of view that I didn't want to be getting after her every minute of the day but for her, she was just testing, testing, testing, trying to figure out the boundaries and not getting any clear answers.

    It came to a head just as you'd imagine, with her going up and over and me getting a hoof in the face, breaking 6 bones and cracking the left side of my face like an egg.

    I got the help of a trainer and we worked diligently on ground manners and respect. She became a much happier horse because she knew what the rules were. And I now get compliments on her all the time - people tell me she's the calmest and most well-behaved TB they've ever seen (which never fails to blow my mind - some things you never get used to).

    I've made plenty of mistakes but that was my biggest one.
  2. greenpaintpony

    greenpaintpony Senior Member

    Jan 25, 2010
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    Ooh, years ago working with some camp horses, I'd gotten so complacent working with my well-behaved crew, that I went in between two tied horses, kissed at the one mare the way my horses know means 'scoot your butt out of my way,' and she instead scooted her butt the other way and kicked me HARD. That reminder to remember the first stinking thing you learn around horses (don't walk behind them!!!) lasted even longer than my stunning, technicolor, hoofprint shaped bruise. :rofl:

    I know my first pony also put up with more misery in the name of love than any being ever should. He deserves to be sainted. :blushing:
    manesntails and Arem like this.
  3. Blue-Roan

    Blue-Roan Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2016
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    Oh boy, where to even start... I'm still making mistakes every single day!
    trailcreekranch and Arem like this.
  4. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2011
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    I need to dig up the photo of me using a tom thumb and a bad fitting cheap Australian saddle.....

    My current horse wears a saddle that was built 40 years before I was born, but the quality is incredible. So folks, it IS possible to get a quality used saddle for $75. ;) Just pretty rare.
    CJ, manesntails and Arem like this.
  5. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    We all do! :D
    It's no big deal. We just need to correct them as we find them. Which will take a lifetime, but, hey! That's horses. Dont do horses if you want to always be above correction. There is always something to learn.
    trailcreekranch and Nu5ha like this.
  6. .Delete.

    .Delete. Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2008
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    My biggest mistake was going to lower level AQHA all around shows in like 06-08, watching the "trainers" school western pleasure and being like :eek: "THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN MISSING". I had no formal training until college, I was mostly self taught so I would watch people and try to replicate. Unfortunately what I saw was the complete and utter opposite of what I needed to be doing. Not to mention I rode alone 99.9% of the time.

    I wanted my QH to be a WP horse sooo badly but he was a far better local level HUS horse. So I made every mistake in the book, I rode him with a tie down between his legs in a curb, I would try to slow him down, I attempted putting a spur stop on him, I lived in draw reins, I tried "bigger" bits, I rode with heavy contact 24/7, etc. Every single novice mistake I am sure I made and that horse was literally a living breathing saint. I should have been seriously injured MANY times.

    Not to mention all the mistakes I made with tack, feeding, care, bad farriers, bad vets, bad show prep, bad show ring manners. Everyone starts out a novice and most people learn through trial and error. Unfortunately for us, the horses have to deal while we stumble our ways through YEARS of continuous learning.
  7. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2012
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    My saint of a lease horse had to put up with me riding him in a leverage bit.
    I was fresh out of a school barn and this was the bit they gave me to ride in. I was 15 at the time and trusted the more experienced people around me.
    He was an energetic, forward horse that tended to cough because of a health related issue (I don´t know the right english word, something with his velum or uvula).
    Again. Stupidly trusted the people who didn´t give me any restrictions for riding him because of this.
    It is not hard to imagine what this translated to, right? That poor, poor horse.
    And he really was a saint because he put up with it. He never lost his forwardness, he never reared, or tried to buck me off. Only thing was he was pretty hot when ridden. Yeah. Can´t imagine why. (To add- the barn had little turn out options. So when I wasn´t around to ride he was put in the arena to run for maybe an hour a day, pasture turn out for a few hours in the warmer months, that was it)
    And the BO/trainer? Told me I needed to use spurs and maybe a stronger bit (ha!) and really "show him".
    I never took a lesson with him because I couldn´t afford them and I wasn´t really interested in his type of training.
    Back then, I didn´t have the internet to do research. But I was always an avid reader and at that time I had read about starting horses (theoretical interest only, I wasn´t that arrogant to think`*I* could start a young horse) and generally: bits and how they function, etc.
    And with that in mind, I went on the search for another bit because I realized just what I had my hands on.
    And I found a double broken snaffle bit. Put that in his bridle and rode him on a long rein on big circles, lots of walk trot transitions and so on.
    It took a few weeks of that but the changes were amazing. His gaits had a different feel and quality. He was still forward but unhurried.
    During that time I really, really started on working on softening my hands, giving rein when he coughed (which happened less and less) without losing my seat.
    We had a few good months after that and then he was sadly sold.
    I still feel both remorse and extreme gratitude towards that big black horse....
    He was still pretty green at 7 w/o much work, too.
    To this day I hope he really ended up as a pasture buddy like they told me. You can probably imagine why I doubt that, given the history...
    AmyK, Macimage, Alsosusieq2 and 2 others like this.
  8. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2011
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    Oh! Feel like your bank account is looking a little too healthy these days? Casually mention to your barn owner how lucky you've been over the last 4-5 years with healthy horses as you're on your way to the field to catch a horse.

    What's that? A horse that looks like she's in distress? Oh, that's one of my horses. She's choking. And it looks like she's panicked herself to the stage of colic. Call the vet. Receive bill for $600.

  9. Trubandloki

    Trubandloki Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2011
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    My biggest mistake was becoming old and realizing I break and becoming a fearful rider.

    What a blessing that I found a trainer who is happy to train me and my pony at a pace that works for us. No one (in our team) cares if I am not progressing at some certain designated rate. No one cares that we will never do amazing things, because we are just happy riding and doing something while we learn, slowly.
    Another blessing is that my group of friends are not judgemental about this progress/fear issue and we all cheer and support each other, even if it is doing "just" a walk trot test.
    AmyK, Macimage, Alsosusieq2 and 7 others like this.
  10. ~tiffy~

    ~tiffy~ Senior Member

    Feb 22, 2008
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    That's a very positive point tho. Most of our mistakes lead to some of the biggest blessings.
    We do the horses wrong but when we learn, it becomes a eye opener for every aspect of horse ownership.
    At least it did for me. I found one thing I was doing wrong which motivated me to find out how many other things I was doing incorrectly.
    Alsosusieq2 and Arem like this.

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