Have you ever disliked a horse based purely on 'vibes' when it wasn't doing anything actually wrong (or not worse than a horse you do like)?

jkitten

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Wondering if I'm crazy or anyone else has had this experience?

Basically when I started riding again at a local riding school (having not ridden for 20 years but having had a reasonably good standard before then, to give you an idea) they put me on 'A'. I liked A and he seemed a good fit for me level wise, but that first lesson was a bit of a blur of remembering how everything works, so I didn't have a chance to get to know him at all. Then the next week A had a minor medical issue and couldn't be ridden that day, so they put me on 'B' instead.

Now objectively, A and B are very similar rides. Both are slightly lazy riding school horses, prone to be a bit cheeky in the hope of getting out of work for a few minutes, but neither of them are plods and can be made to get their acts together with a bit of a firm hand.

In spite of this, for some reason I like A but I just don't get along with B at all. I rode her for about 5 lessons and every time I got this incredibly negative vibe off her, like her whole attitude was just 'ugh'. Even once she was working decently, and the instructor actually praised what I got out of her, I still felt the vibe coming up through the saddle was 'ugh fine'. Even in the stable, as much as I would try to make friends with her while grooming, tacking up and untacking, I felt like she was just rolling her eyes at me the whole time.

It sounds ridiculous but honestly it really ate into my enjoyment of riding. I found it really depressing to have to ride an animal I felt so strongly didn't like me at all, so much so that I ended up asking to be switched back to A, who by then was healed up and back in work. The riding school were happy to oblige (I didn't tell them why, just said I liked A better), so since then I have been riding him and even though the ride isn't actually all that much different, I enjoy him sooooo much more. Even though his behaviour is very similar to B, I get a much cheerier vibe from him, like yes he's a little lazy and will try his luck, but it's all in good fun and he doesn't really mind me or the work deep down.

Writing this all out makes it sound even crazier to me. I hasten to add that I'm not normally one to talk about 'vibes', and as a child and teen I spent 10 years running around a large RS and livery yard, riding all kinds of different personalities and don't remember ever feeling anything remotely like this.
 

skint1

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I certainly think vibes are a thing and they can influence how we view a horse's behaviour. I guess it could be argued that it is about familiarity to an extent, but sometimes, just like with people, it's just how it is.
 

Meredith

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I feel this all the time with horses.
I was viewing a horse some years ago. I knew immediately that the horse which apparently would suit me perfectly would not be right. I stood beside her and patted her neck. She nudged me then turned away and never looked at me again. The feeling was obviously mutual. I had terrible trouble extricating myself politely before wasting more of the owner’s time as “ We don’t like each other “ probably wouldn’t have washed as a reason for not buying.
 

Peglo

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I find my friends horse a bit ‘meh’. He’s never done anything wrong with me, I’ve only ridden him a few times and he’s been very fine, not bad but not exciting. He’s got personality and is a lovely horse but I’m a bit indifferent to him. My friend has an amazing bond with him though (even though she keeps leaving him or loaning him!) so maybe it’s that he’s just her horse.
 

jkitten

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I feel this all the time with horses.
I was viewing a horse some years ago. I knew immediately that the horse which apparently would suit me perfectly would not be right. I stood beside her and patted her neck. She nudged me then turned away and never looked at me again. The feeling was obviously mutual. I had terrible trouble extricating myself politely before wasting more of the owner’s time as “ We don’t like each other “ probably wouldn’t have washed as a reason for not buying.
😂 Yes I can imagine that was awkward! TBH I was quite worried that the RS staff would ask me why I wanted to switch and once they heard my explanation forever label me a difficult weirdo, but fortunately A is in less demand than B as he is not as bombproof, so they were only too happy to switch me back.
 

Winters100

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I get this. Some horses I feel good and confident with and some not. To me it is one of the reasons that I would not like to buy unseen, because a horse which sounds perfect for me on paper can be one which I just do not enjoy, while others which sound less likely to be a fit can turn out to be perfect.
 

Melody Grey

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Very old fashioned of me, but I always look for a kind eye.

I’m quite freaked out by wall eyes too and have never bought a horse with one. There’s a coloured zebra marked horse with clear eyes that comes up in my Facebook newsfeed (called siebra I think) that you wouldn’t get me within 20 metres of!
 

bouncing_ball

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Not weird at all. Obviously I work with a lot of horses. Some I get on and go - no thanks! And wont sit on again (I'm too old for that malarkey!) And others I instantly love! Some come under the 'meh' bracket of I will ride them if I have to but would rather not as we just don't click very well.
Do the yard’s generally let the exercise riders chose not to ride certain horses?
 

Red-1

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Horses that I have disliked have tended to be in pain.(or later proved to be so).

A client's horse, for instance, I liked riding him on the right rein, not on the left. I mean, on the left I was edgy, even though the horse was simply a bit stiffer on that rein and wasn't doing anything naughty. I wanted to get off, a cold feeling. On the right, fine and cheerful.

I suggested a performance workup, that was done and the horse did indeed have some minor issues, for which the vet suggested physio. Sadly, the physio exercises (lungeing over raised poles) that were supposed to be done actually seemed to make the situation worse and the horse started to show lame.

The owner wanted to stick with the program whereas I wanted a further vet assessment, so I parted company with that client as I felt uncomfortable with working an increasingly lame horse. I don't know the outcome but I am sure, personally, that we originally caught something early before lameness came, but when the horse was in some pain.

I think that mares do often have pain associated with cycles.
 

palo1

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Of course - horses and humans are emotional creatures that make friendships and dislikes as a matter of breathing. I think it is pretty important to listen to those feelings on both sides. Our horse culture here in the UK doesn't really emphasise the importance of connection but others do and that is well worth respecting in my view.
 

Trouper

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I think when we are young and racing round the stables just loving the time spent with horses, it is all about "you". This is not a criticism of anyone - it is just a fact that young things are pretty self-absorbed.

It takes some time - and life - to become emotionally aware of others' feelings, be they people or animals. When you add to that the fact that we and they are all different, it is not surprising that the vibes between us can vary so much. Whilst I have loved every cat, dog and horse I have ever owned, there are one or two who tug slightly stronger at the heart strings - and given that each was treated exactly the same I can only assume that there was something quite intangible about the difference.

There are those who are incredibly attuned to animals - and they make great animal communicators. I just wish I were one of them!!
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Do the yard’s generally let the exercise riders chose not to ride certain horses?
Yes because it doesn't do the horse any good to have a rider on that either doesn't like it or can't ride it. We all have certain horses we ride and look after every day along with a bunch we will sit on when their normal riders are off that day/week. Not everyone can ride every horse and there are some horses I quite simply won't sit on because not only would I not be able to ride one side of them it could potentially be dangerous.

The jockeys don't always get a choice - they usually get the most horrible of the rides because they can deal with them, they do grow to like them as would anyone when you have to ride and compromise with a horse every day. They then get various random horses that they would ride in a race or need to school at home. Mostly to get a second opinion on how the horse is going.

I am not working today as I am working the weekend so Derek is on Big Midnight as more of a check in on him before he runs next week. One of the young lasses is on Champles but I am not sure she will ride him again today as she got off him yesterday - he is fresh as paint and was throwing some shapes that wouldn't concern me but does concern her. There's no point upsetting horse or Rider for the sake of it.
 
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Absolutely there is a horse I used to have lessons that I hated riding; he was fine on the ground and nice to take on a hack but I really didn't enjoy lessons on him. There was another horse in the group usually usually used for lessons that I quite enjoyed riding; someone else in he same group felt the same about him as I did the horse I didn't like, but was happy to ride the horse I didn't like, if that makes sense! We were riders of a very similar ability level but had very different responses to these two horses. This put me off buying anything unseen during Covid as the horse I didn't like riding was on paper very much the sort I was looking for and ridden by a competent riding would look very good in a video.
 

Mrs Jingle

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I have had less than a handful over the years that frankly we just weren't a good fit, I usually gave it 6 months or so to see would we learn to gel together. When it was obvious these were never going to be great partnerships for either of us, I made the decision to sell them on to more suitable homes for them.

I only ever owned one horse I can say I actively disliked. On paper he ticked all the right boxes and despite a slight feeling of unease at the viewing, I bought him. He never put a foot wrong but I felt so guilty when it slowly dawned on me that I simply did not like him😳 luckily a friend thought he was the best horse ever and she bought him at exactly the price I paid for him.

I still feel bad to this day that I didn't like him through absolutely no fault of his own
 
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Yep, all the rime. I'll be honest, it's generally with mares though I did go to one viewing of a gelding, took one look at its face and refused to get on it. The Owner was selling due to her own medical problems and couldn't get on it first. Later discovered to have wobblers, poor sod.
 

Cortez

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Oh sure; just like people, some horses I just don't like. 99% of the time it's down to personality, not how they are to train or ride. Before I retired I had to ride whatever came my way, but there were some who I just plain disliked. One was a mare that I bred, who never put a foot wrong but used to make me seriously grumpy, especially her whinny which for some reason put my teeth on edge. I sold her to a woman who worshipped the ground she walked on, and the mare loved her too, so EVERYONE was happy the day she left :).
 

Goldenstar

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Yes my husband had a hunter called Moses he was great hunter .
I thought him a wooden unkind ungenerous bully who was lethal with other horses in the field .
I looked after him well but the day I had reason for him to be put down I felt nothing but peace .
I glad he was gone .
 

Fern007

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I have never felt like that before, but meeting a friends little pony i instantly disliked him. I now cannot stand the little thing. Don't know what it is I just don't like him!
 

LEC

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Horses - no, owners - yes.

Having been a ride judge its interesting what you click with and what you don't immediately. Going to buy horses, I have only sat on one where I thought I cannot ride one side of this horse, so told the owner she did an amazing job and I couldn't ride one side of it. On paper it was exactly what I wanted. A big green Kannan 4yo to go eventing.
 

Surbie

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Not that often but yes. Usually I like them or they are a bit 'meh' but there have been a few in my life that I disliked, both mares and geldings. I am lucky that I don't have to deal with the ones I dislike often. There's something about them that I can't get on with, and I am sure the feeling is mutual. On the current 'I don't like you' list is a gelding that will barge, bite and spin. But his Comtois fieldmate, who will do similar, I like a lot.

On the other hand there are the ones that waltz straight into your heart and make themselves very comfortable, my own horse and my friend's little pony being two. I will be a little bit broken when the latter is sold. He's got a proper John Travolta strut.
 
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rabatsa

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Yes. Over the years there have been a few that I have disliked. One mare that I loved was disliked by my RDA counterpart. Interestingly in having her at the RDA I never failed to catch her in under a couple of minutes, yet my counterpart was only able to catch her once in about 10 years.
 
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