What To Do When You and Your Horse Don’t See Eye To Eye

If you’ve ever had a horse that you don’t quite click with, you know how frustrating it can be. Here are eight things you can do to address the situation. 

Pixabay/Mabel Amber/CC

We’ve all been there. Owning a horse that we butt heads with for one reason or another. Or having a horse that we don’t really love riding for one reason or another. Lately I have come across several horse-rider combinations that are not seeing eye to eye with each other. Some of these owners have decided to sell their horses because they understand that the horse is more than they are willing to work with after coming home from their job. And others have decided to gut it out with the horse they have and to make that horse the horse that they want. 

Here are eight things you can do if you and your horse are not seeing eye to eye:

1. Make sure that it’s not just a one time thing. Everyone has a bad ride now and again. Make sure that you are not putting an undue amount of pressure on yourself and your horse by thinking that each bad ride is a sign of worse things to come or catastrophe ahead.

2. Examine your goals. If you have not done so already, really take stock of your own riding goals and your own strengths and weaknesses as a rider. Do you have the time and energy to be training your horse every ride? Or do you want to get on and take a relaxing trail ride after a stressful day at work? Be honest with yourself about what you want.

3. Ride the horse you are on. Make sure you are mentally present on the horse you are riding. Ride the horse that you are on. Not your beloved previous horse that died. Not the horse you wish you had purchased. Not the horse you wish you owned. And not the worst case scenario.

4. Get help! If you are struggling with your horse regularly, find an instructor that you like to help you with your riding and to help you gain confidence in the saddle. Or, if your horse is really in need of an overhaul, find a trainer, whose work you respect, to help you with your horse.

5. Take mental breaks. Are you pushing your horse and yourself too hard? Take some time to groom your horse, graze your horse and do something both you and your horse enjoy. Take time to really connect with each other.

6. Ride a different horse. Take a physical break from the horse that you are struggling with and take a lesson on a different horse. Or borrow a friend’s horse and go for a trail ride. Or if you are lucky enough to have multiple horses, then ride another horse for a bit. Do you miss riding your horse? Or is it a relief to be on another horse?

7. Commit to the horse you have. If you like your horse deep down, even though it might not be the horse you want, or the ideal horse for you, and you know that you don’t want to sell the horse, then double-down and commit to your horse. Put in the work and the time to make the horse you have into the horse you want.

8. Sell the horse. If you know in your soul that the horse is not right for you and you are not capable of putting the work in that the horse needs, then there is no shame in finding the horse the right owner. But be sure that you are honest about why you are selling the horse and what the horse’s shortcomings are. But don’t stop there. Really deeply think about your own goals and wishes for a horse, and when you horse shop again, do not stop until you find a horse that matches your riding goals and your own level of commitment to training and riding.

What else do you do when you aren’t meshing with your horse? Let us know in the Facebook comments. Go riding!