Stubborn husband and new horse - WWYD??

B&J

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Ok so I bought my husband a novice ride cob. She’s great but had the winter off with previous owner and is a little unbalanced in the school. She is too small for me to ride so I can only work with her on the lunge.

My husband rode as a kid but is essentially a total novice again BUT he won’t listen to me at all, he is also unbalanced so the two together are very unbalanced. I have tried giving him pointers in the school, had a friend show him on her so he could watch, suggested lessons with my instructor, offered to lunge whilst he is on her so he can concentrate on his positioning, friends have offered to school her but he won’t agree to any of it :mad: He just wants to find the answer on his own, in his own time :eek:

I am concerned that without proper schooling the horse will get worse, especially with an unbalanced rider but what can I do??? Any ideas to either school her from the ground or ways round the husband (I know it’s practically impossible without knowing the person or the horse)! Maybe focus on hacking for a while? Or should I back off and let him get on with it the hard way? I’m at a total loss here!
 

SadKen

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You need a man friend to tell him he's doing it wrong. Stubborn men don't listen to anyone except a man mate ime!
 

Sleipnir

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Maybe you can tell him vivid examples (and, possibly, show, if you find any videos of the "bad riding" kind on youtube) of how his riding will affect the horse, make the horse uncomfortable and/or frustrated, and how his own way will cost dearly to the horse in long term? Surely, he cannot be without any care about the horses' well being?
 

STRIKER

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Oh give him a chance it will come, dont make him sour let him enjoy it at this stage and grt better when he wants to. The horse wont die from being unbalanced and really does it matter. Wish my hubby would be interested in mine but he sees horses as being work only being an ex jockey and now a work rider.
 

Ladyinred

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Other than fall out with him all you can really do is to let him get on with it. Eventually he will climb down off his high horse(intentional pun!) and ask for help when it all gets too difficult for him.

Long reining/"double lunging" would help her find her balance but there is no hiding the fact that many cobs find it difficult in a school, our eldest couldn't manage a balanced canter in a school until he was 7.

When you see the number of people here who have totally disinterested husbands then it definitely isn't worth falling out over. Shut your eyes and walk away... oh and when he does ask for help try your hardest not to smirk or say 'told you so'!!
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would always work with an unbalanced horse through hacking, so that looks like your way forward to me. Your husband will also find his balance better by dealing with varied terrain than doing endless exercises in the school. Teaching your OH to ride, is I'm sure, like teaching him to drive - something best avoided!
 

madlady

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Firstly I'd be pointing out to him (as nicely as possible) that he could do some serious damage (resulting in vets bills) if he just carries on regardless - I'm thinking back problems mainly.

If he is absolutely determined to persevere then I'd go down the hacking route as less stress on joints and back than schooling (with an unbalanced horse and rider)

Would he be up for going for a lesson on a different horse so that he understands what he's aiming for?
 

HeresHoping

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Get them both out hacking. As long as he has the basics of go and stop, there is nothing like going out and having FUN to learn with. They will find each other - you can always sneak in some long lining/lunging to build balance. Whilst hacking you can drop the odd line about 'just be gentle with her mouth and she won't throw her head about when you want to stop,' or 'I find the best way to apply the breaks is a bit like mirror, signal, manoeuvre... sit deep, legs on, hands blocking - most horses seem to respond best to that,' and occasionally, 'You'll find both your bum cheeks benefit if you rise on the other diagonal occasionally, just bounce once so you're rising when the other leg comes back.'

My husband was taught to ride in 6 weeks by the Household Cavalry. Great with push button horses who know which way around the parade they should go, and at what pace. His first hack had me cringing. By hack 6 he was the one asking who might be good to have a lesson from. It wasn't to be me, because 'You get too narky with me and never teach me like you teach your other students.' Which is true. We expect an awful lot from our other halves for all sorts of reasons, probably most noticeably, we don't want to be embarrassed.
 

rach1

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Maybe you could offer to video his riding and show them to him, letting him draw his own conclusions? I think it's a lot easier to spot mistakes watching others than while you are judging yourself, maybe this will show him what you see without you having to tell him?
 

TrasaM

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Maybe you could offer to video his riding and show them to him, letting him draw his own conclusions? I think it's a lot easier to spot mistakes watching others than while you are judging yourself, maybe this will show him what you see without you having to tell him?
Good idea :)
 

ihatework

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I'd get them out hacking more but to all intents and purpose is then back off and let him get on with it.

If you can subtly get a male instructor that he likes then that might help too.
 

B&J

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Thank you everyone :) I have a male instructor who is very good so maybe I could book a lesson for myself and mention to him that he is coming would he like to join in maybe... they get on well so you could be onto something there...!

I don't want to push him to the point that he doesn't enjoy it but it would be nice to see legs actually touching the horse (or at least within 3 inches would do!), hands soft and maybe, just maybe, looking ahead and not at the floor..... I know that makes me sound really controlling but honestly I have been exactly there myself and I was so grateful for any scrap of help I could get that I am probably being way too pushy!

I'll go on a hack tonight and completely casually offer for him to join me and try my hardest not to say anything. Great idea about videoing too, definitely worth trying :)
 

smja

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My boyfriend doesn't ride often, but when he does, the only thing that gets through to him is explain the consequences of what he's doing (immediate ones to him, not long term ones for the horse) and why he should do it differently. For example: if you dig your knees in and swing your lower leg around like that, you're unbalancing yourself, and I will laugh at you when you land *uncomfortably*. Put your legs here, relax your knee, and you'll be much more secure, then the horse will actually canter when you ask.

As a side note, he rides old pony when he visits, who knows the game and isn't at all bothered by novices making mistakes...but he won't do anything until you ask him properly!
 

STRIKER

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Just before you think of saying something smile and think how nice it is you are both out together enjoying the sunshine and sharing what you both enjoy, then shut up
 

Cinnamontoast

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Can you stick on something that just stops when not ridden properly? What is your horse like for novices?
 

B&J

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Mine would be terrible as he naps, plants and is generally as stubborn as they come. Hubby has been on him with me leading but think my boy wrote the book on stubborn cobs and knows exactly who is riding him sadly. That's the other reason I want him to be self sufficient as if my boy has a moment on a hack which he inevitably does (we are working on this, not had him long) I need to know my husband can manage his own horse when mine is reversing and playing up.

Hubby's girl is better behaved and wouldn't tank off or anything like that, she's just unbalanced and probably a bit confused bless her. I half suggested going for a lesson at the school I used to ride at but last time he did that they put him on a pony and kept him on a lead rein so his pride was a little put out so he's not keen on that idea :-(
 

ironhorse

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Hacking - definitely. I taught my OH to ride, but it was not always a success and my (wonderful) instructor rarely had time to teach him. But as soon as he was safe she offered the use of her dressage schoolmaster to hack with me and my hunter. This horse was brilliant as he was bombproof in traffic but hadn't seen much of the countryside, so pygmy goats in a field, a round bale that had fallen off a trailer etc led to some interesting half pass or piaffe! Husband learned to sit up, look where he was going and steer with his legs very quickly! We also borrowed other horses to go on fun rides which got him galloping and jumping which men love! However the one real turning point was going to see a western demo which led to some lessons with a top reiner - western's taught in a way that men seem to find very logical. He went on to buy a quarter horse and do a lot of competing - you might find a discipline that appeals to your husband and get him interested in having lessons with a specialist in that discipline. Doesn' t have to be western, show jumping or hunting seem to appeal to men, or even trec as it's a bit technical!
 

B&J

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you might find a discipline that appeals to your husband and get him interested in having lessons with a specialist in that discipline. Doesn' t have to be western, show jumping or hunting seem to appeal to men, or even trec as it's a bit technical!

ooo you might be onto something there as he is very technically minded (a mechanic), and western saddles are fab with balance (I ride my boy in one on hacks as it's rather comfy!). I wonder if my retired horse's western saddle fits, she is using his GP saddle as it was a perfect fit - might be worth a try tonight.... thanks!
 

Spot_the_Risk

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Get out hacking. My husband has just taken on a loan horse and is essentially a returner to riding after about a thirty year break. We trailer the horses together and go for decent hacks and he enjoys it.
 

horsefeed

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Lots of hacking and balance will naturally improve for both of them. Men often don't like schooling anyway. My OH is keen rider but hates a school we have 4 horses in work between us, we always hack and I school at times when we can't ride due to his work commitments
 

Tobiano

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My ex OH miraculously decided lessons were great when I introduced him to his blonde, slim, gorgeous 6 foot tall female instructor! :)
 

charli_

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Hacking will perhaps help him to improve his balance, its a bit more relaxed and you don't tend to be too self conscious and in that it comes naturally. It should sort him out and helps the horse to adjust to noises and general things in life. It will also help the horse to develop physically. In terms of telling him, if you don't think it will do damage for him to carry on alone (he will probably ask for help after a bit) then I would leave him to it. Unless he will be a danger to the horse it will be a good learning experience for him.
 

tootsietoo

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It sounds a bit like trying to teach my children! I have decided that the only way is to give them exercises which address the things they need to learn without them realising! Eg. older daughter lets her pony tank round the field (she loves it) so tonight I put them in the starvation paddock to ride which is less than 20x40 to get her to slow up a bit and think about corners etc without me having to tell her to slow up. I put out poles in patterns to steer through and over, and grids, which they inevitably end up using, and it all helps. Also pony club is good as they have fun and learn from others. Can you get your hubby to go along to riding club perhaps? Or hack with friends, and they can gently point him in the right direction? Basically you probably have no chance of getting him to actually listen to you, so you need to let him get on with it, with some very subtle steering in the right direction!
 

B&J

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Haha he'd runaway from a 6ft blonde in case he looked less than manly :) I plucked up the courage to let him have a plod on my horse tonight on a western saddle and he loved it (apart from my horse playing up!) said it felt much more secure. He looked much more balanced and.... His legs were against the horse woohoo!

Going to get a western fitted to his horse and start hacking out with him keeping myself quiet but I tentatively said to him he could have western lessons which is a manly discipline and he could wear jeans.... Think it's created a monster, he hasn't stopped talking about it all evening :)

Thanks everyone for the advice, we have plenty of ideas to work on now x
 

Billabongchick

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Glad he's taken to the Western idea! I've given up teaching mine as we ended up arguing!

He had his first lesson on our ex racer yesterday with a lady at our yard (who is also a dressage judge) and got further in one lesson with her than in a year with me as he didn't dare stop and argue the point. She also realised he was clamping his leg on in trot which is why our mare kept rushing off as she was confused not naughty (she is only 6 and unbalanced herself) and also the reason he fell off the other day when trying to trot through a field was she went into canter and he lost balance and then she kept zig zagging trying to recover her own balance as he was swaying about. It all made sense listening to the new instructor and made him feel better that he went out the side door! I just read him this thread and he says he feels much more happy hearing it's not just him :)
 

B&J

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Aww glad he had a good lesson :) there will be no stopping him now! And no he is definitely not alone on this one! The main issue is where his legs go, they tend to flap about in the breeze or too far behind him so it tilts him forward so landing in trot is at best ahem 'painful' or at worst totally unbalances him but the western stirrups are much bigger and stiffer so he didn't have a choice but to have his legs in the right place :)
 

Billabongchick

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Yes I can imagine the saddle would keep him in a more comfortable position! I put a thread up asking for pants advice the other week as mine kept squashing his balls ha ha. He now has a lovely pair of budgie smugglers that his Dad (who is also a rider) gave him from his new pack from M&S. Sexy... Not! But should help until his seat is better. Roll on more lessons :)
 

B&J

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Looooooooolllll!!! I daren't suggest pants, the look I got for mentioning breeches was enough to put me off ever mentioning riding attire ever again lol! I'll leave him to get sore legs and bunched up under-crackers :-D
 
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