I’ve always had pretty strong opinions about who rides my horses. Maybe I failed sharing in kindergarten, maybe I didn’t. But when it comes to who gets on my horse, not everyone makes the cut.
Partially this is because I do so much training myself, and I subscribe to the theory that every minute you are in the saddle, you are training the horse. Not that mistakes can’t be made, but that the horse learns by its experiences. Lots of good experiences create a positive and relaxed horse that does its job happily and correctly, but unfortunately it seems one very bad experience can have just as lasting repercussions. So in my opinion, it’s better to have a rider that will take care to leave your horse a happier, fitter horse ride in your absence, than someone you have less confidence in get on at all.
It doesn’t help that my horses have never been the easy sort to ride. Merry could be a hot sensitive mess if you upset her. Ivan was sweet until he wasn’t, and then good luck to you, sir. And Foster is just, I don’t know.. tricky. I would not describe Foster as vindictive in any way ever; he will try his heart out for you until you insult him, in which case recently he’s been fairly glad to give a little kick out or buck. Fair enough to me.
But Foster is also kind of a funny guy in that he’s fairly hard to get round. Obviously I have figured him out, and describe his as a somewhat ‘reactive’ ride- I’m constantly communicating with his mouth, softening, insisting, waiting, being quiet even, but it’s a fairly ongoing discussion. Others who get on him may not quite understand his language, and get frustrated when he doesn’t get round for them. The riders that seem to get along with him best are those that have ridden different types of sensitive, tricky horses as they tend to have the most understanding hands and know when to be pliable with their elbows/seat/etc and when to insist.
I guess my horse isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I suppose that’s alright with me. Maybe it’s a good thing that he’s a fussy horse, since I’m a fussy owner when it comes to sharing him. I know everyone is different though, and want to hear what you guys think!
Do you let other people ride your horse? If so, how do you decide who gets on? How does your horse react to different riders?