Novice ride? Or my riding?

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I tried out a cob with a view to loaning (and maybe buying). The whole experience had me a bit bewildered...

The cob was only 5, which I was a bit wary of as I am a novice, but was told I d have loads of support to bring him on if I loaned him. Now Im not a total beginner. Have had plenty of lessons, rode a lot when younger. Fairly (!) balanced in walk trot canter etc.

From the start it felt off. Cob seemed incredibly nervous. Ears back (not pinned but obviously back) the whole time. Went to mount and he started dancing. Owner said it was the way I mounted - apparently I grabbed and pulled saddle too roughly. This is perfectly possible. I should have used a mounting block maybe. He seemed to calm down a little. Was very obviously green. I have ridden a green pony before (recently broken 4 year old that my instructor had bought) but this felt different. The 4 yr old - felt fairly together and balanced, but had very little steering. The cob had little steering but also felt that brakes and go button had only just been established. He was very sensitive to leg, but then oddly needed quite a lot of it to keep going.

When I asked for canter he bolted. It was fine as I could get control of him and bring him back. But at that point I was quite obviously 'no thanks'. The owner kept on going on that he was a saint and that it was my riding and that I shouldn't look to loan but go back to having lessons. She said that I asked for the canter incorrectly. That then I was too unbalanced and that's what scared him. And that I leaned back too much (I think I probably did - I think I put my weight into my heels and leaned back to stop him getting his head down and to try and regain control - should I have done things differently?).

I mean - I know I am not an excellent rider.... But I didn't think I was as horrific as all that. I asked for a forward trot, waited for a corner, inside leg on girth and outside leg slightly behind, using my seat in sitting trot to push slightly. Was this wrong? Should I have been doing something different?

I was told he was a total saint. Green but safe and sane and good for a novice. That it was completely me that was the problem. Also cob was in really strong bit. I d never seen it before - instead of a jointed bit it was a heavy bar. Should a novice ride be in a heavy bit?
 

Orangehorse

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A novice, unbalanced rider can upset a green horse, and obviously this isn't one for you. Your aids for canter sound fine. Possibly he has been ridden by an experienced rider and you are the first different one he has experienced.

Sounds as though he has just been backed, frankly.

I know someone an OAP as it happened, looking for a new pony/horse as he old one had retired. Went to see one having been assured it was quite suitable for a person of her age, nearly 70, very quiet, excellent in all ways. She got on, and as she sat in the saddle the pony exploded into buck and she fell off. As she left she overheard someone saying that it was newly backed and had hardly been ridden.
 

stangs

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It's entirely possible that you did ask for canter in a way that unnerved him, same for the mounting. But imo a horse that's good for a novice should not be sensitive enough for an unbalanced rider/small variations between riders to bother him - he's definitely not suitable. Also awful of the owner to be so judgemental if they advertised their horse as suitable for a novice.

As for the bit, was it something like this? Because that's not a particularly strong bit.
 
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Yes - thats the bit.

And yes definitely showed me I need more work on my riding! Poor old cob. I felt really sorry for him after it. I hope he finds a good rider to bring him on.
 

Gloi

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They were bullshitting you into loaning a half broken horse hoping you would do the work of bringing it on.
It wouldn't surprise me though if the owner was another novice conned into getting a badly broken green cob too, and now are looking for someone to share the problem.
There are a lot about, especially since lockdown.
Put it down to a lucky escape and if you look for another loan pony make sure someone else rides it first.
 
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Did the owner ride him before you did? I’ve not bought a horse but have read many posts on here advising never to get on first. Really feel for you, must have been a horrible experience.
No. Another thing learned. I don t think she'd have minded though. I should have asked. It wasn't that bad. Pathetically, I was quite proud of regaining control of the bolt and not falling off (massive success, I know). But it did show me in bleak terms how much I need to learn. I do think that lessons are only teaching me so much. I think I need more saddle time, hence the loan. But it has made me a bit :oops: at the idea of loaning. Maybe I need way more lessons...
 

Gloi

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The sad thing is... I would have, if I could have. He seemed like a nice little thing really (but very scared). But the whole thing taught me my limitations, which is no bad thing I guess.
Be very careful. Believe nothing owners say. Remember you only have one neck so don't get it broken unnecessarily.
Remember too, a scared horse is a dangerous horse even for an experienced person
 

splashgirl45

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maybe speak to whoever is giving you lessons and ask them if they think you are ready to loan. i think it may be better to share so that the owner rides most of the time and maybe you ride a couple of times a week. a loan is usually your complete responsibility and it sounds that you may not be ready for that yet. the owner should have ridden him first so you could have seen what he was like and i would have expected them to tell you to use a mounting block especially as he is so young. lesson learned and thankfully both you and the cob are ok.. good luck next time
 
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Take it as a learning curve. Most young horses are very easily upset and a novice rider can upset easily through no fault of their own - lack of experience is all. Don’t be so hard on yourself, the seller is wrong for allowing you to get on without them riding first. ALWAYS see the horse ridden first, then you can get a vibe as to whether you want to get on yourself or not.

A lesson is what it was 😊 don’t let it stop you looking!
 
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My_old_warmblood

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BIG RED FLAG 🚩 no loving owner of any horse, let alone a green one, would put a novice at risk.
I don’t care if a rider is nervous/ inexperienced or just not a good fit- it’s never okay to try to coerce someone into taking on a horse who isn’t the one.
please don’t let this ruin your confidence, and don’t take in the share/ loan. Something is definitely off about it. If the owner is so helpful, why can’t they do the work themselves or find someone who is more experienced for the pony?
 

shortstuff99

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A lot of people seem to have it in their heads that cobs are bombproof from birth, yes some are, but most are like every other young horse and need bringing on correctly. It can all go wrong very quickly on a young horse.

I imagine there is nothing wrong with your riding, but you are probably not used to riding young horses. I would look for a more established horse to share/loan.
 

millikins

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Well it's a lesson learned and nothing worse than hurt pride. I agree with others that the owner sounds inexperienced too, you shouldn't have to ask to see it ridden first, that's the way it's done.
But I bet you learned more from this unpleasant experience than in several lessons, you can go to your next lesson and ask for advice and practice to avoid such things in future.
 

Cob Life

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No. Another thing learned. I don t think she'd have minded though. I should have asked. It wasn't that bad. Pathetically, I was quite proud of regaining control of the bolt and not falling off (massive success, I know). But it did show me in bleak terms how much I need to learn. I do think that lessons are only teaching me so much. I think I need more saddle time, hence the loan. But it has made me a bit :oops: at the idea of loaning. Maybe I need way more lessons...
Maybe try a share?
then you have the owner around much more. If possible take your instructor with you to view too

ps. Believe nothing owners tell you, and it isn’t just you it’s happened to!
I viewed a horse once described as suitable for a competent novice, i told them although I’m a competent rider I can be nervous, I watched the owner ride, got on myself, he was pretty good, maybe a little looky but he was only 5. got off and was told “wow you’re the first person he hasn’t bolted and bronked with the first time they got on him” I turned him down because if she’d lied about that, what else has she lied about!
 

Midlifecrisis

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Id treat it as a sign that the pony isn’t for you and don’t let the experience knock your confidence. I have ridden for years but when searching for my current mare I tried a variety of horses for sale at the yard of someone I trust and respect. One particular gelding was not happy from the moment I sat on him..tense ..so I didn’t do anything other than ride around the yard back to the mounting block and got off….every other horse was perfectly lovely and I chose a newly broken 4 year old.
 

Red-1

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Recently bought into cob culture.
I used to buy quite a few horses, for a company, and have learned never to believe a word sellers tell you. Also, never get in one unless you see it ridden first and still want to get on. If they can't find anyone prepared to get on, I don't want to get on!

Even a complete beginner is suitable to loan, with the right backing. Mr Red's Charlie Horse would have been suitable to teach complete novices on. When I taught commercially, if anyone was having a tough time at the company I was at, I would privately invite them home for a ride (all adults!). One time, I pushed a man with 4 weeks of riding experience out of the gates and told him to keep turning left, as I knew the horse would bring him home safely. If someone that novicey were to have loaned him though, they would have needed backup and perhaps the horse ridden by someone competent a couple of times a week, just to keep an eye on things.

So, if you can afford a decent yard with help on the ground, and regular training which may include someone riding the horse, then pretty much any experience can loan or own a horse, if it is the right horse. If more financially challenged, then a share arrangement may suit better. That way the owner can keep an eye on things.

A friend had a novicey sharer for her eventer. It was at a grand yard, the sharer did 2 days a week, in a routine, with other people around. Everyone benefitted. The horse got some wandering round the arena aimlessly when otherwise he would have not been worked. Lots of walk-hack in company. Ability to have lessons. By the end of winter, she was out with the others having a canter and trying X poles in the arena. That horse was established and easy going, despite being successful at BE100.

Come to think of it, Charlie Horse was an eventer too. IDX. Also successful to 100. Sometimes an established half bred is a stack easier than a cob!
 

Equi

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Loaning out a 5yo green horse to me is the owner looking free bringing on, then bring it back to sell. It’s risky cause the person could ruin it but if they’re getting a decent rider it can work out for them and many good riders maybe couldn’t get the same horse if it was for sale so I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this situation - my point is you may be a decent enough rider but you’re not ready to bring on a horse and this was not going to be a good match. With a more established horse you’ll be absolutely fine.
 

irishdraft

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I wouldn't be too hard on yourself OP because the owner should have ridden the cob first to show you how he goes and also a mounting block should have been provided two things that immediately show me the owner is not experienced in dealing with novice riders or horses .
 

Birker2020

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I



I asked for a forward trot, waited for a corner, inside leg on girth and outside leg slightly behind, using my seat in sitting trot to push slightly. Was this wrong? Should I have been doing something different?
I've bought a horse three weeks ago that I couldn't get from trot to canter, yet I'm an experienced rider who has competed for years and owned seven horses! Don't beat yourself up, its not easy to find the buttons to press. You feel pressurised and hopeless - at least that was my experience of viewing my new horse Lari. I also asked for canter on the short side corner, inside leg on the girth, outside behind. You will never get a good canter from an unbalanced trot so I'd already made sure I'd established that. But I felt a right fool as he just ended up going faster and faster in trot and as he's so bouncy I was all over the place as I'd not ridden properly for some four or five years!

In the end he was more than happy to do walk to canter transitions as this is what he knew best (typical show jumper, shorten them, flex their neck and ask for canter.) If you are lucky enough to see some of the top jumping riders warm up in a collecting ring you rarely see trot in the warm up, walk to canter is a preferred method a bit like going from 3rd gear to 5th in a car (which I tend to do quite a lot, just cutting out the middleman - 4th Gear). It revs the horse up and ensures its listening to you by doing direct transitions. Maybe the top riders don't like to bob around in trot either!

Don't worry, I'm sure you are an adequate rider. Like someone else said, don't let the experience knock your confidence. I was ready to jump off Lari and admit defeat when I viewed him but fortunately instead I gathered my thoughts, took a deep breath and knew that I would find the button eventually and walk to canter was sufficient enough for now for what I wanted to do.

Last night in the school he was knocking out trot to canter transitions left right and centre because I'd had the chance to engage with him and experiment in a nice quiet environment where I wasn't under pressure from an owner and a professional rider watching me.

You'll find your horse, don't give up! :D
 

Birker2020

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I wouldn't be too hard on yourself OP because the owner should have ridden the cob first to show you how he goes and also a mounting block should have been provided two things that immediately show me the owner is not experienced in dealing with novice riders or horses .
Yes my thoughts exactly. Never get on a horse you go to try without the rider getting on first. My friend went to see a horse with a view to buy many years ago. She asked the owner to get on it first and what a good job she did. No sooner had she put her foot in the stirrup the horse went up in the air, she came off and was knocked unconcious. My friend rang 999 for an ambulance but of course didn't know the exact address as she'd only got there via sat nav so had to run and find the woman's husband to give the ambulance directions.

THe woman was in hospital for a while with broken bones and concussion and said to my friend "He's never done that before, I would never have got on him had I thought he was capable of that". And my friend completely believed her, after all you wouldn't put yourself at risk had you expected that kind of reaction.
 

Cowpony

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I went to view a horse once which reared twice while its owner was riding it. I was very glad I hadn't got on first! I declined to ride it. I certainly wasn't going to buy a rearer no matter how much she assured me the horse hadn't done it before, had been a saint for the previous viewers etc. I also tried a 4 year old recently backed horse which was jet propelled and responded only to very subtle weight changes to stop or go. Although I did ride that one I didn't jump it or buy it. I just felt that my standard of riding wasn't up to a horse that sensitive. A couple of years later the person who did buy it came to a few competitions at our yard. She'd had a lot of problems with it and it certainly didn't look like a fun ride!

So keep looking OP. Share/loan the horse you need, not the horse you think you might grow into. And don't let anybody push you into something you aren't 100% happy with. So much about riding is about feel, so if a horse doesn't feel right for you just walk away.
 
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