Laziest horse ever

Eliskaxo

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I’ve started at a new riding school after taking some time off riding and they are giving me the same laziest horse every week. He is so lazy even in walk and my instructor just keeps shouting at me to kick him every 2 seconds and whip him. I feel bad for the pony because I don’t want to be constantly kicking and whipping to get him going
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eggs

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Ask to be given a different horse. If they won't let you ride a different horse ask to see the instructor ride the horse you normally ride and see what it is like with them.
 

Annagain

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My trainer has a 4 step 'escalation' process - click, flick, kick, stick. You start off asking the horse to go forward with a click or your voice. If he responds - even a tiny bit - praise him; if he doesn't, you escalate to the next stage. He then gets a flick (small nudge/squeeze) with your leg, if he doesn't respond to that he gets more of a kick and if there's still no response you use the stick. The idea is that if he responds, he gets praised and learns that he's been good, if he ignores you, the consequences escalate. It worked a treat with my lazy boy, he learned that responding sooner made for an easier life and that's all he wants!

You're at a disadvantage because you only ride him once a week and plenty of others will ride him in between so you can't really train him in the way could a horse that you were riding every day and nobody else was getting on. You might find you're starting to get somewhere by the end of a lesson only to have to start again the following week.
 

HEM

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I do feel your pain! I came back to riding a couple of years ago after nearly a 10 year break. I was being told to kick the 'lazy' horse and felt awful so expressed this with the instructor and she basically told me that I had lost a lot of muscle in the time out that I took and actually my 'kick' the horse could barely feel.

I still ride the same 'lazy' horse now who is definitely not lazy, cheeky but not lazy. He does still need a kick instead of a squeeze sometimes but only normally the first time in a lesson I ask for a change of pace when he thinks he can try it :p talk to the instructor, a good instructor will hear your concerns and help to resolve them however that may be! good luck!
 

Eliskaxo

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Thanks for the responses.
This is actually the instructors own horse so I presume that asking for a different horse is not possible(it’s quite a small riding school.) I feel like I’m having to use my whip to “smack” him as my instructor says rather than using my legs. I feel like using my legs has little to no effect and that he’s been taught to move using a whip rather than legs. It’s putting me off a little bit and I want to know whether I should change riding schools
 

HEM

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Thanks for the responses.
This is actually the instructors own horse so I presume that asking for a different horse is not possible(it’s quite a small riding school.) I feel like I’m having to use my whip to “smack” him as my instructor says rather than using my legs. I feel like using my legs has little to no effect and that he’s been taught to move using a whip rather than legs. It’s putting me off a little bit and I want to know whether I should change riding schools

If you are not enjoying it there and there aren't many other horses for you to ride I would try a different school.

Remember you are a paying customer, they're not going to turn you down if you try somewhere else and then want to go back!
 

Shay

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Beginners often feel like they are on a lazy horse. But it is most often just a horse who has learned that beginners can't make him do anything so he won't. There are a whole range of reasons why your leg aids are not effective - ranging from a lack of the muscle tome to give the aid efefctively, to a loss of balance when the aid is applied resulting in confusion, or catching at the reins, again causing confusion.

As other have said - if you are not happy you are the paying client, so change schools. But another option might be to see the horse ridden by your instructor so you can see for yourself what aids are needed to get a result (I would suggest if your instructor also has to resort to a whip as an aid you do need to move on!). Or have some lunge lessons on the horse so you can feel what he is like with someone else controlling pace.

Like HEM's expereince - you may well find that as your riding improves he is not lazy at all - he simply won't do something if you cannot tell him effectively. (And by effectively I do not mean with a whip!)
 

ester

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I do think how lazy they truely are does depend a bit on how effective your leg aids are being, and whether you are blocking the horse inadvertently.

I’d find it helpful to observe the horse being ridden by the instructor. Which would also in turn give you the opportunity to ride the horse once it had been tuned up a bit.

I have one inclined to be lazy but who knew about aid subtlety too who I have let a fair few more novice people ride. In order to keep everyone happy I have always ridden and tuned him up before hand or I have lunged so they can work on their aids but he is receiving additional cues at the same time.

However if you aren’t happy make enquiries elsewhere :)
 
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Rumtytum

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Agree with the posters above. I’ve been at a riding school for 3 years, tried a few horses and settled on one whom I adore but he was definitely taking the easy option when he could! When my instructor got on he was a different horse. I found as my riding improved - better balance, stronger legs and more effective aids- he improved in performance too. So you could change schools, but before that it might be worth getting your instructor on board and see how the horse goes, that at least would show you if he’s capable ?
 

HEM

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I feel kind of embarrassed asking my instructor to ride him as I don’t want her to think that I don’t trust her

I think it is in how you word it. "could you jump on just so I can see what you mean by XXX" rather than "I'm doing that but it's not working, you try"

I had an instructor ask to jump on and demonstrate because she didn't think I understood what she meant... she was right, I didn't and as soon as she showed me I understood what I was doing wrong.
 

Courbette

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What do you do in your lessons with this horse? I’m just curious as an observation I have made at riding schools is the lack of transitions in lessons. The horses can switch off so aiming for a short burst of walk, the x amount of trot strides and repeating until the horse anticipates the transition can really help. It will be hard a first but quite often the horse will begin to improve. You can start with walk and halt if walk to trot is too difficult to get him listening to you.

Lots of changes of direction are also beneficial and try light quick aids with your leg and being really positive with your praise for any step in the right direction.

Do you have private lessons
 

rainni_day

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I can't offer any advice, but I do have a story. When I decided to get back into riding, I went to a local riding school. They put me on a horse that I had to kick and stick to move him. I was absolutely exhausted after 10 mins. The horse clearly didn't enjoy it and neither did I. I changed schools and got on much better. I later learned that the horse died 3 weeks later...he was 27 :-( I feel awful to this day.
 

ester

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I feel kind of embarrassed asking my instructor to ride him as I don’t want her to think that I don’t trust her

I don’t think it indicates that at all, it’s quite normal for instructors to pop on and demonstrate. I’d just say I assume you can get him going much better than me, could you show me as t
 

Annagain

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I can't offer any advice, but I do have a story. When I decided to get back into riding, I went to a local riding school. They put me on a horse that I had to kick and stick to move him. I was absolutely exhausted after 10 mins. The horse clearly didn't enjoy it and neither did I. I changed schools and got on much better. I later learned that the horse died 3 weeks later...he was 27 :-( I feel awful to this day.

Don't feel bad, I lost my boy at 27 due to colic. Up until the day he died he was fighting fit and had legged it with me up the lane back to the yard on the Sunday (he died on a Tuesday morning) having bounced round our short hacking route. I cherish that last ride as it was so 'him'. I doubt the horse you'd ridden had shown any signs of problems or he wouldn't have been working. The end can come very quickly for some horses even if they're old and they can be absolutely fine right up until they're not.
 

Keith_Beef

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I've been on horses that have seemed to be lazy and slow at the start of a lesson, but that I've managed to get moving after ten minutes or so.

I've seen other learners in the same predicament, and seen the instructor get on the horse in the middle of the lesson, and wake the horse up, then give it back to the learner who then had much less trouble.

There was one that I used to ride (l'As, who went away when the school changed management) and there's one that I ride from time to time now (Heavy), who seem lazy at first, but just need a little tap with a crop or a whip at the first refusal to walk more quickly or transition to trot. After that little tap, all I need do is move my crop or whip forward and into his field of vision to remind him that it's there...

There's another, who is ridiculously slow for the girls who regularly ride her. One day, the instructor was so frustrated that he asked me to wake her up. I didn't need to do much at all: the mare took off to a trot at the first request, cantered three times clockwise around the arena, then three times anticlockwise. I gave her back to her rider, and she was fine for the rest of the lesson. But since then, I've seen every time that the rider has trouble. It seems to be that the horse has understood that she can get away with not working hard.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that you shouldn't worry too much about it: it's very common to have trouble getting the horse to move as you want. I don't think that kicking and whipping is a great idea, and shouting at you to just do it harder isn't a great teaching technique.

You can ask your instructor to get on and show you how it should be done, and that might well wake up the horse for you. But I've found in both horse riding and in skiing that watching somebody who is good but can't explain verbally what you should try is very often useless. As a novice, you can't even see what the proficient rider or skier is doing, so you can't really imitate it.
 
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