Your Horse - Partner or Problem
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   6th Feb 2013   •   3,874 views   •   6 comments
Your Horse - Partner or ProblemThe question I pose to you today is a sensitive one, but one that all of us will inevitably face at some point in our riding careers: when is it okay to quit?

Those of you who know me will know that Iím a firm believer in a Ďnever say dieí and Ďnever give upí kind of attitude. I donít believe in giving up on a problem horse because it is too difficult, and I firmly believe that any horse can be turned into something worthwhile with the right attitude and the right training. I have always scorned those riders who give up at the first sign of a challenge, and just sell their horse in order to take on something easier... So you may be surprised to know that today I intend to study the other side of the coin... When, I ask you, should you give up on your horse?

At some point, every one of us will end up with that one horse that we just canít gel with. That horse thatís too hot, too unreliable, too unpredictable, too lazy, or Ė if youíre like me Ė just too easy!

Iím sure youíll all agree with me when I say that itís neither a good rider nor a good horse that brings in good results; but instead a good partnership.

Therefore, my point is this: if you have a horse that you love to bits, but just canít seem to get along with, then do yourself and your horse a favour, and let it go. Too many times Iíve seen lovely horses and good riders destroy one another just because theyíre badly suited to each other. Iíve seen riders with shattered confidence and horses with dangerous vices simply because the partnership falls into a downward spiral of destruction. The horse acts up, the rider gets scared, the horse loses faith and acts up even more; next thing you know the rider is on the ground, and the horse is left believing that the solution to its problems is as easy as throwing a buck and depositing its passenger in the dirt.

Itís just not worth destroying both your confidence and your horseís in the pursuit of a connection that may never be there. Although it is often hard to do, believe me when I say that if the partnership isnít there, youíre better off selling your horse.

As riders, we have to be mature enough to admit when itís not working... Even worse, we have to be mature enough to do something about it. We have to know when to quit.

Your Horse - Partner or Problem

And now, just to confuse you, Iím going to go on to say that there are times in a riderís life when challenges must be tackled, and hardships should be taken on with hard work and perseverance rather than despair. You have to ask yourself; is your horse really the wrong horse for you, or are you just tackling the problem wrong? If you believe that it is within your abilities to fix your horse, then for goodness sake, donít give up! Far too often I see riders who will throw away a good horse because they canít be bothered working through its issues, and frankly, it sickens me. If I had listened to every top rider who ever advised me to give up on my horses because they were too difficult and would never amount to anything, well... I wouldn't have any horses right now.

If your horse has talent, and if you believe you have the confidence to work through all the problems on the way, then I encourage you to keep on trying. Nothing worth having comes easy, and if working with my little band of misfits has taught me anything, itís this: Itís never the easy ride that makes a talented athlete.

No good horse is without its quirks and flaws, so before you give up on your naughty horse because you just canít be bothered any more, think about that, and ask yourself; do you really want to succeed in this sport? If you answer Ďyesí, Iíll tell you straight, youíre a liar.

What do you think, Ponybox? When thereís such a fine line between giving up on something worth the effort, or persevering with something that will bring nothing but disappointment, what is the right choice to make? Do you keep on trying, or do you decide to let go?

The only one who can answer that question, my friends, is you.

Your Horse - Partner or Problem
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
PonyBox  MOD 
Two types of people, some will walk away at the first sign of trouble, others will devote the time to work it out.
  Feb 6, 2013  •  5,003 views
Starlight Farm  
I agree that there are many problems and issues that can successfully be worked through. However, I know first-hand how important it is to not shatter the rider's confidence, leaving her to spend years picking up the pieces. I think you, Polo, have worked through much more than an average rider would (I'll be honest, I don't think I'd want to keep a rearer). On the other hand, I've always had and enjoyed a bit of a project, partially because working through the problem allows me to get through it with the horse in a "personalized" way. So yes, some problems just require determination and patience, but (and I won't go into my personal experience) the rider needs to know her limits and be honest if the situation is dangerous, for either riding or ground issues.
  Feb 6, 2013  •  4,300 views
Run Free  
Well my own pony is a good example of never giving up. She was 'a hopeless case' when I got her, a young, green mare waiting to be sold for slaughter. poor girl could barely trot around the arena, was afraid of pretty much everything and was almost skin and bone. I worked so hard on that pony, I was with her for hours everyday bright, dark, rain, hail, sleet or snow I was there to do everything I could with her and within seven months we were already jumping, she would only spook at reasonable things and she was even getting a little fat! I cannot begin to explain how proud I am of her or how much I love her. The reason we made it so far together is the fact that we bonded, we genuinely cared about each other and wanted the best for each other and all the effort between the two of us brought us here, over two years later and we still have problems but we always work through them because we bond. I don't think it is possible to get anywhere with any horse without a bond, if you don't bo
  Feb 7, 2013  •  4,375 views
Santa Ana Ranch  MOD 
I honestly wouldn't be the person I am today if I gave up and walked away from my first horse. When I got him, he was a 12yr old Tb with 'behavioral' issues. He reared, bucked, spun and was very food aggressive. My first ride on him after I bought him home we nearly flipped over. The first 6months I owned him I spent more time hitting the ground then I did in the saddle. There were many times he went up for sale, but something in his eye kept pulling me to delete the sale ads. I moved to Vermont and spent the next 6months rain/snow/sleet in the round pen with him. 30mins without fail everyday. When I left VT, I had an amazing hunter/jumper with mountains of potential. This troubled horse was merely a product of timid and fearful riders, developing nasty and dangerous habits out of need to get away with whatever he wanted.

I constantly joke about being put through the "Java School Of Balance". If it wasn't for him, I would never have developed my seat and ability to sit a
  Feb 7, 2013  •  4,166 views
Dark Star  
Well, I can honestly say, I wouldn't be half the rider I am today without Archie. Yes, my mother is crazy and oblivious to the obvious still today about that crazy crackhead of a horse, but he still taught me how to ride a cranky, onrey horse that has no talents at all other than bucking. I should've given up on him, heck, I have. He is sitting out in the pasture because no one else is CRAZY enough to do what I do. Tempt fate, fight death, and ride the devil pony.

There is a line, and you need to be sane enough to know where that line is. Which I am not, if I was, Archie would probably be in a kill pen somewhere or 6 feet under. There comes a line where a horse is dangerous, and at Archie's age, there is no changing him. If there was, he would be there.

Now, should you give up on a horse that has some naughty spells, NO. I mean, look at Dee. She was no angel when we got her. She tried everything she could to get out of work. She would buck, rear, pull back, run off, whatever. I
  Feb 10, 2013  •  4,620 views
Swoosh Equine  
This is an amazing article. There is a time when you're not safe anymore and you need to know when to quit.
  Oct 19, 2013  •  3,543 views
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