Who Can Ride My Horse?

There was kind of an informal blog hop going around about this, although I forget now who all did it (my brain is on shaky ground these days – PLEASE FOAL ALREADY, MARE) … so if you participated and want to leave a link to your post in my comments, please do. But the premise was asking who can ride your horse – both ability wise and “allowed to” wise.

HenryMartincanter
Henny with Dressage Trainer. Pretty certain I will never replicate this.

I feel like if I’ve done my job reasonably well, pretty much anyone should at least be able to get on and tootle around. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make this horse more rideable (because I think that being really rideable is always a great thing for a horse to possess) so I like tossing someone else up there every once in a while and watching them push the buttons. Pretty much any rider should at minimum be able to get on and w/t/c and point the horse at some jumps. I harbor no delusions of grandeur about my ability as a rider: I don’t think I’m so special that I’m the only one who can ride him without messing him up. In reality he’s been putting up with my shit for quite a while, so he’s gotten to be pretty good at it by now. I have no qualms about giving just about anyone a leg up under my supervision, and most people who have experience with a forward-thinking horse should have no problem riding him.

HennyHillary
with blogger HIllary

The difference is supervised versus unsupervised. If I’m sitting there watching, I can control the situation and what the person does/doesn’t get to do. People also tend to be on their best behavior with the owner watching. So in that scenario, there are very few people who wouldn’t be allowed to ride my horse. Only exception: people with really bad hands. Y’all don’t get to come near Henny, sorry. Take up knitting or something.

BobbyHenry
with Bobby

But unsupervised rides mean that I have to trust you to have good judgment about my horse and what is appropriate. It’s one thing to trust someone to just pilot him around for fun while I watch. It’s another thing entirely to be trusted with a solo ride. The people I’d trust for that are limited mostly to the pros I’m comfortable with and friends who I know have a similar approach as I do.

HenryMCPMerritt
Henny with event trainer

Otherwise, as long as a situation is under my control, I feel like it’s good for my horse to get exposed to as much as possible, including different riders. What about you?

31 thoughts on “Who Can Ride My Horse?

  1. I think you make a great point about a horse being rideable for most people, especially under supervision as you noted. I take pride in knowing each of my horses is more than capable of toting about any horse savvy person and even most greenhorns who want to experience horseback riding once. It gives me peace of mind to know that if (god forbid) I died today, my horses would find nice homes because they’re rideable by many.

    I absolutely agree re: handsy people. Ugh. That’s was the hardest part when I was giving local kids lessons last year; my horses have little tolerance for shitty hands. I put them in side-pull halters to alleviate much of the trouble, but some people just suck and a horse can only be *so* patient/tolerant. And thus, I fired them because I didn’t really need the extra $$ any more and it was better to end the situation before someone got hurt.

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    1. That’s exactly it as far as horses finding a good home. I feel like it’s my job as Henry’s owner to make him into the best horse I can possibly make him, and that means one that has as many tools in his toolbox as possible. If something happened to me or if I had to sell him, I feel pretty certain that it wouldn’t be that hard for him to find a great home. He will never be a kick ride or a plodder (I would hate that), but he’s rideable and he’s reasonable. I think we owe our horses that much.

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  2. Henry would be far to forward for me. (So you could trust me to ride him solo because it would be for a very short amount of time at a walk. bahaha) Literally anyone with a belly button can ride Paige safely (without supervision even) but if they’re touting their skills and asking to ride Copper, its probably a no go unless I’ve seen them ride before. I get to be the one to mess him up, and pay for my mistakes. 😉

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    1. If you leave him on a loose rein in the ring, he’s actually quite pokey. He doesn’t really perk up until he’s outside or knows that he’s about to have to do real work. 😉

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  3. I agree with supervised and not. I’ll put anyone on Gem while I’m present. Heck my
    Mom, who is afraid but wants to not be, rode Gem with me on a 6 mile trail ride. I was so proud that my once very dangerous mare could be trusted to take a beginner on a technical trail without a single problem.

    On the other hand, there are very few I would allow to ride her on their own and only about 3 people I’d ever let take her on an endurance ride with or without me there. Too much can go wrong.

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  4. People are definitely going to be more well behaved with you around!! I definitely didn’t consider that aspect of things, but it’s true – with supervision, I can at least control the situation a little bit.

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  5. I agree with supervised vs alone. If supervised, I will allow most people on my horse – at least to walk/trot around. He is not yet at a place where I would consider him ready for just anyone to canter or jump on, but I definitely have people that I trust to do anything with him. When not supervised, I have a short list of pros that I would easily trust him with, and I have exactly two friends that I can think of that I would trust to just hop on and ride my horse when I am not there.

    I definitely do my best to keep working on his ability to be rideable. My hope for him is to eventually be a packer w/t/c and jumping, so that I can let lots of people ride and play with him.

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  6. I read Olivia’s post and then I think Nicole posted about it, too, and I thought, hey that’s a great blog hop idea … until I realized no one wants to ride my horse, lol. He has come a long way in a few years, but he might be a one-rider type. In my defense, a TON of people rode the other three horses I owned without issue …

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  7. Yesss! Supervised vs. unsupervised is definitely the rub for me! I’ve put everyone from pros to children who’s only experience with horses was watching True Grit on my horse under supervision, and no one died. In fact, the horse is extremely tolerant and absolutely fine. The list of people who can ride my horse unsupervised is extremely short, though! And what they’re allowed to do with him while I’m not there is even shorter! (Read: walk on loose rein, maybe trot, possibly canter. Probably NOT change directions or circles smaller than 20 meters. Haha, I’m particular!)

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  8. Anyone can get on my horse and walk/trot and canter going to the left. He still struggles with his right lead.

    Right now, I don’t have anyone who is trusted to ride my horse completely unsupervised, at least not w/t/c in the arena. I do have one friend who is trusted to ride him on trails. She’d likely be fine in the arena, but she can’t quite handle four reins and pony has made it quite clear he only likes his Pelham and only likes it with four reins.

    Trainers are a little trickier. His only trainer ride totally fried his brain. Needless to say, we didn’t keep her. Jump trainer so far hasn’t felt she needed to get on, but because of our previous experiences, I definitely want to be there.

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  9. Generally I think it’s a compliment that people can ride my horse. But you’re right that it only really happens with people I trust, who will either ride in a way that helps me, or would tell me if something was up.

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  10. Not having a horse of my own, I was lucky enough to be the ‘go to’ babysitter at my old barn. Trainer had a pretty efficient system where she made it very clear to each owner who would be an acceptable babysitter for their horse – we had a fairly large group of adult ammies with varying skills who were all friends, so it was neater to be able to offer trainer’s word as justification. Generally the more ammy friendly, the more people who were allowed on, because there was less risk both to the rider and of the horse being affected.

    That said, I knew it was because I was the least likely to install something wonky onto a horse, and that’s the real downside to me of leasing and having to accept that other people ride/even lesson on my lease horses. There’s few things as annoying as having a great ride Monday and coming out on Wednesday and having to scrap your plans because the horse is so braced on the left rein you can’t even circle. Maybe if I had the ride on something more schoolmaster-y it wouldn’t be as big of an issue, but I really dislike getting on and having to fix things. When I eventually buy, this is going to be a huge issue for me – there’s going to be like a test to be allowed on at all, much less unsupervised!

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  11. Yeah… I’ve been burned hard on this one. I can put tiny children on him to toodle around and give pony rides no problem. If you just loop the reins and w/t/c around preferably in two point, he’s also fine. BUT (big but) he’s very sensitive (shocking, right) and if someone thinks they know what they’re doing and try to work him?

    It’s not worth it to me. It can take weeks to put him back together. I mean, yeah sure I can stand there and scream and be a bitch to try and make them not mess up my horse, but that’s not fun for anyone.

    I have never had a non-pro ride him unsupervised and I can probably count on fingers the number of unsupervised pro rides he’s had.

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  12. Mine is not complicated, proof being that I have not seriously ridden in almost 3 years and he puts up with my shaky level of ability just find. If his rider rides confidently he’s great but if they get nervous he gets nervous and I don’t want to see what would happen in that situation. And my only friend that knows how to ride is the definition of “nervous rider” so at the moment he only gets ridden by me. If I had friends who were decent riders I would have no issue handing the reins over.

    Unsupervised is a different story because he gets weird around strangers on the ground so I’d prefer to be there.

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  13. I’m totally in agreement that it’s in the horse’s best interest to be rideable. God forbid anything ever happens to me or my situation changes or even if the horse just doesn’t want the job I’m offering… A rideable versatile, even universal horse will have a much better chance of landing softly. And for that, I feel responsible.

    Beyond that tho….. Call me selfish but I am kinda possessive of my horses and generally am not super eager to share haha. Also I haven’t done much in the way of training rides – mostly bc a) I’m cool with things taking as long as they need to take for me to be able to get it done (the exception being that time I was very clearly *not* able to get it done toward the end of my time with Izzy) and b) I don’t necessarily need my horse figuring out just exactly how amateur I really am lol. Maybe not the soundest logic but it works for me 😉

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  14. Totally agree. I’d let just about any capable rider on Mort if I’m around to watch and direct them to a happy ride. I think it’s our jobs to make our horses as ride-able as possible. I’m even slowly trying to convince my husband to let me give him a pony ride on him (no luck yet).

    I’d let probably only a few people on him unsupervised–and they have to be people who I know and have watched a LOT. It terrifies me to send my horse away to training (I’ve only done it once). You just never know what people are going to do–so lots of vetting and supervision is required before I trust.

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  15. I’m with you on the it being supervised aspect. I use my 3rd level dressage pony for beginner kids lessons. I will let anyone hop on with me there. With me not there the list goes down to a hand full of people! My opinion is if my horse is no negatively effected mentally then why not. No one is going to “ruin” my horses training in one ride. I do however have a horse that is so mentally sensitive that a bunch of people cannot ride him and keep him sane. In fact he has required months of pasture no riding time after coming back from other people riding him because his brain was that fried.

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  16. Love Henny and still plan to steal him.

    I would agree with your logic. I want my horses to be rideable to a variety of people. That said there are only a handful of people I want to ride them when I am not present. They have to have good hands and an even temper 🙂 at the end of the day if I feel like my horse will benefit or stay the same I’m generally okay with it otherwise the horse will be fine missing a few days of work. And such 9yos pop up on them from time to time bc a well rounded pony is the best kind.

    You get to sit on them in April when you’re here before Rolex if you want to as well – you might miss Henny even more though afterwards haha 🙂

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  17. I let few people ride my horse, just my dressage instructor. She is ‘just’ a kick ride pony pony from the outside but unfortunately if put under pressure (read handsy) can become so wound up that spooking and or bolting can happen. I don’t want anyone coming off her. I let just about anyone drive her, the less experienced the better, she is great to learn to drive from and as long as I’m there all fine. I don’t let many driving instructors drive her because she has a tricky mouth and most expect her to accept a level of unwavering contact that just leads to a war.

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  18. I will only let my coach at home, Belinda Trussell or my winter coach in Florida Lou Denizard ride my horse. Belinda’s assistant Lynsey can also ride my horse to take him out on the trails if I am away. I don’t want anyone else on him because I don’t want them trying out all the tricks on him and then getting him wired and not be able to deal with his level of “hotness” that he can produce. Here is a link to Belinda riding my horse Biasini.I should also add the Biasini has been ridden under supervision by Belinda’s children aged 9 and 11. He was super with them. Walk and trot only. Here is the link: https://horseaddict.net/2016/09/21/belinda-trussell-rides-biasini/

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  19. With my old gelding I’d let any idiot ride him. He was 23 and indestructible. My new one, nobody but me and my trainer. Barely 6 months off a successful 7 year career as a racehorse. Be barely knows how to be a normal horse at the moment. Eventually, I feel the same way you do, anyone with basic riding skills would be able to get on and ride, supervised. Unsupervised, trainer and a few close friends who’s skills I trust.

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  20. I’ll admit, I used to be kind of weird about this….no one rode my horse but me, and the only exception was the verrrrrry occasional ride from my trainer when she really wanted me to see something from the ground. This was mostly due to the fact that my horse is sensitive and extremely trainable, so I would be able to tell he had been ridden by someone else after just ONE ride by someone else. But then I broke my right hand and it was in a cast for months. I decided that it wasn’t fair to my work-loving energizer-bunny horse for him to sit around for months, so I asked a friend of mine who is a better rider than I am and who I trust immensely to keep him in shape for me during that time. They got along famously, and we were able to pick right back up where we had left off once my hand was healed. It was a good experience all-around.

    So then when I was pregnant with my daughter I arranged for the same friend to ride him again. I was relieved that he’d be in great hands while I was busy birthing a human, healing, and adjusting to all that comes with parenthood. I was actually able to go to a horse show just three months postpartum, and only had to worry about my own rustiness and out-of-shape-ness, not my horse’s too.

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  21. My last horse was a bit cheeky at times so I drew a firm line of no beginners or clinger/hand leaners. I also kept riders that weren’t me or a paid trainer in the arena, he could just be a butthead outside and I didn’t want anyone to eat dirt.

    I let many of my rider friends hop aboard, even unsupervised. I knew those folks, even unsupervised by moi, werent about to try to teach him any new tricks but just give him a good, fun hack.

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  22. I agree completely! Supervised vs unsupervised makes a huge difference. I think it’s important for horses to have different riders on them. Especially if they may ever be for sale.
    For me it depends a bit on the horse. Literally anyone can ride Jamp because he’s really easy. He’s also pretty old, so you’re not going to mess him up. But he’s also kind of a jerk with a big spook, so I am reluctant to let just anyone get on. Not because I worry about him, but because I’d like them to STAY on…
    No one rides Rio but me now since he has chronic EPM. Just a safety precaution. He’s fine and stable, but what if, ya know?
    I’d let anyone ride Romey who wants to… But he’ll probably spin them off.
    Consensus: My horses need more trainer rides.

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  23. Well Pearl used to be a school horse, so she’s used to having plenty of people on her…but then again she did flunk out of that career, so maybe not the best to do it too often! I’ve had a handful of people on her since she became a one-girl horse. She

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    1. (I’m a computer idiot today sorry) does surprisingly well with pony rides and walk/trotters… I think her not being the bravest horse works to her advantage there because you can see her thinking “oh crap, I’m the one in charge here, I better slow down and be careful because no one is going to bail my ass out.” I did have a teen ride her for me a bit last spring. The first few rides were supervised (either by me or our mutual trainer), which was good because she is more of a forward ride than the kid is used to and I think it intimidated her, and Pearl for sure would have gotten frustrated with the mixed signals. After that they did well on their own, as far as I know. Honestly there’s not a whole lot of incentive for other people to ride her more than just hacking on a loose rein– she’s not particularly highly trained and she can be difficult to get working correctly, so who wants to deal with that on someone else’s horse! In the grand scheme of things, no one is going to screw up this horse in a handful of rides than I have in eight years, so as long as I know anyone is not going to get hurt I’m not too worried from a training perspective.

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  24. Basically I don’t share well… for a few reasons 😬

    I have worked hard to get Henry to where he is now and I was to enjoy him AND riding is a big money and time commitment- I’ve given up a lot to have what I have and again want to enjoy him myself.

    It sounds selfish but I’m ok with that 🙈

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