Monday, November 17, 2008

I Hate my job!!!!!

We as horse riders enjoy certain disciplines, be it trail riding, dressage, jumping, barrels, team penning whatever. But what happens when what you love, isn't quite what your partner had in mind??

OK now check out this picture. This is a horse than is totally un-enthused about his job. This is a 5 yr old Reg. Qtr Horse for sale for $10,000. He was first trained in dressage and apparently did very well at it. Now, here his ears are set in an annoyed position, he's jumping lazily, and hie eye expression screams "I need more fun!" or "Kill me now!" Now he could have a more interested expression if say the jump was set a bit higher, or he wasn't jumping at all but sticking with his dressage. This also could be why they're selling him too, the girl may want to jump, and obviously, he doesn't!

NOW, some horses, are lazy bums. I have had a few of those where they are just un-enthused about a lot of different things. For some other horses, it's merely trial and error. Finding a happy medium between what you are interested in and what your horse is interested in. It's very important to observe the expressions and actions of your horse whilst asking him to perform a certain task. And just because your horse doesn't "like" to run fast, doesn't mean you can't gallop him every now and then.

Now Some horses were just trained improperly and made to hate their job due to too much stress, being over-worked, being harshly trained, etc. and unfortunately it could take you a bit of time to try and sweeten up his end of the deal so he and you can enjoy it!

I train a horse who HATES to be in the arena and she just LOVES the trails. She will be absolutely perfect on the trails, and a stinker in the arena. But when it's raining she MUST be ridden in the arena, so it's up to me to try and alleviate her distress at being worked at something she doesn't like and make it tolerable for her.

Like I said, just because your horse doesn't want to be a Grand Prix jumper, or a dressage horse, or a speed event horse, does not mean that you can't still dabble in those other disciplines for fun! Just be aware to not FORCE your horse into something that they aren't willing to do safely! There is, however a difference in protesting because he's a green horse and he's confused, and protesting because you're taking a dressage horse and asking him chase cows!

It's also not only for your horses happiness, but for yours and his safety, as a horse who is disinterested can become very lazy and careless about his job. Get distracted and make some pretty serious errors. It's also VERY important that while training a horse in a certain discipline that you allow them breaks in between so they don't get burnt out. Remember always put yourself in your partners shoes and think OUTSIDE the box!


2toads2luv said...

My barrel horse has been roped off, trail ridden, been through dressage lessons, jumped (definitely lacked those skills) and pretty much anything else that keeps his job from being boring. The result has been a very successful barrel career, and a horse that's fun to ride in a multitude of varying disiplines. Good for both of us, I think.

Trainer X said...

I couldn't agree more!!!! :)

kestrel said...

Sometimes you wind up just having to tell the horse, you know what, I hate my job too, but it puts food in your belly!
For a horse that hates a particular job, the second the horse starts putting forth an honest effort I'll either ease up on them or stop for a while. Once again, breaking it down to...your job as my horse is to at least try, and I'll reward you for trying. Also, I'll mix up jobs to keep them guessing.

Trainer X said...


Amanda Nicole said...

Yes Kestrel!
When I ask my boy (a barrel racer)to do things like jumping to freshen him, it isn't his favorite but I know it's good for us as a team and good for him as an athlete. If he is working against me, we continue, but when he works with me, I work with him!
Good post!

GoLightly said...

Wow, another great post.
So very, very true.
Never dull 'em, never over-train 'em, and try to never ever make 'em hate their job. Perfection happens over a long time..
And never say never, when the horse says, yeah, FU, not going There!

Of course, if the horse really hates you, you're also in big trouble:)
Or, you're an ammie, and your horse is wishing to live to see dinner:) I knew an ammie who'd bought an OTTB, (???) and his eyes widened in fear every time he saw his owner..
I had an arab/qh school pony, he loved chasing the nervous kids outta his Stall! He'd Look like an alligator, until I'd step in, his eyes would get real big and soft, real quick. If a kid fell off, because pony was a brat, he'd nuzzle them in abject apology. Oh, I'm sorry did that little buck throw you OFF? How sad!!

Kestrel, I wanna ride at YOUR barn:)

Thanks for the memories:)

kestrel said...

You betcha, golightly!

Lachelle said...

A few days late, but I just wanted to say that I completely agree. The barn I ride at is ALL about jumping. JUMP, JUMP, JUMP! After a successful year of jumping with my OTT Arab, he decided that bucking was more fun, and that he hated jumping. After a fall that cracked my helmet halfway up my head, I decided to switch to Dressage. He LOVES it! I LOVE it! We are a match made in heaven now! No more getting bucked off, no more getting dumped. But of course my jump, jump, jump barn scorns at the DRESSAGE rider in the ring.

Oh well. Having a horse that loves me and loves his job is well worth it!