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Learning to ride and work with horses is a lifetime journey. It’s filled with ups and downs as we make progress, get stuck, perhaps take a few steps back, but then forward again.

As with any journey or process there are many times we can inevitably feel frustrated. Frustration isn’t a great emotion to feel, but not only is it almost an inevitable part of the learning process, it can actually be beneficial.

I like to think of frustration as a fine line between successfully learning something new or becoming overwhelmed and giving up.

When you are feeling frustrated, you’ve really got three choices, I’ll explain in this week’s video.

Now, it’s your turn – leave a comment and tell us about a time you were feeling frustrated with your riding and how you got through it.

See you in the comments,


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72 Responses

  1. Thank you, Callie. Like this advice. I’m going to keep working on my riding. 🙂
    My frustration is being able to sit the trot on my bouncy Standardbred who has a really rough and fast trot without holding onto the pommel.

  2. Good advice! It is so true that when you are the most frustrated you are soon to make a breakthrough. The key ingredient for me was to stop and go back to an easier set of activities on my horse and have someone reteach me what I need to do going forward. That reteach was the key and the frustration motivated me to be a better listener and ultimately a better rider!

  3. Was very frustrated with my inability to sit the canter properly. My butt was always coming up out of the saddle and I felt out of balance and unsafe. It was your video discussing how to relax by allowing me to focus on how tense I really was and how to hold the tension and then actively relax — each leg, each arm, etc. that helped. I still hold my shoulders too stiffly and I do try to roll them and relax them before I ride which is helping. Sometimes even the breakthrough achievements come in a series of small successes. My canter is not perfect yet, but I do feel more relaxed and in better control.

    I live on the other side of Harrisburg and in a lesson program with a great instructor, but would love to take a few lessons to see what you might be able to help me with.

    1. The above reads as if it was from me! But I haven’t done the relaxing video, yet. Thanks for writing about your frustration an success it has shown me that I’m not the only one finding canter transitions very challenging. Buxton, Derbyshire UK

  4. My frustration has been with my obsession to look and find the “perfect” feel and position over fences and at the canter. Riding was never a natural sport for me, and now with working with a young talented prospect, I am still trying to find that confidence and ability to look soft and seamless over fences higher than 2.9″. I’ve been riding almost 15 years now and have never been given the opportunity either with horse and/or my ability to successful go any bigger, and I’ve been battling that thought of “will I ever get there?”

    My gelding has been growing in leaps in bounds, and doing so well and I can see the transformation in video and feel his strength, but I feel lately I cannot stay balanced or keep a proper base and that I’m floundering with the thought of if I’m doing the right thing or not.

    I would love anyone’s insight or if they’ve been in a similar situation.

  5. Thanks. I too am learning to trot on a new horse at the barn. I would like him to go a little slower but don’t want him to stop. My other issue is that my turns with him are not as sharp as with a previous horse. My instructor wants me to open my inside leg more but I don’t seem to be getting it right. I will persevere! Patty

  6. Thank you Callie. I am having problems with my asymmetry and consequently my horse is not going straight. As I try to correct this, so I twist and make the problem worse and I have experienced a lot of frustration with this over the last few months. I am an older rider so my body is not so flexible. My instructor has also said that the frustration is almost necessary to ultimately progress and it’s interesting that you think this is so – on the verge of a breakthrough!! I will keep this in mind and keep going!

  7. Thank you Callie as you have heard me complain I have had many frustrations over the past 2 years. But last night I had the best ride ever I trotted that pony as fast as I could over poles and around the ring. Today I feel great. Have been working on my mental image of myself , working on a lot of negative words that like to hold you back. One step at a time.

  8. Thanks Callie;
    this is always good advice. As you know I am working with a 4 yr old who has fear issues due to abuse by a former owner. Frustration is a big issue as we take one step forward in training and sometimes I feel like we are going backwards. Your advice about not giving up is great I almost gave up on him but then i rewatched your videos on how a horse reacts and thinks and tried changing things up i don’t do the same lessions everyday sometimes it is just basics sometimes i add something new and skip something he does really well at. He doesn’t get bored so easy and i don’t get frustrated with him because he is bored. He has come a long way and we now have a much better relationship. but your videos on how to understand things like environent and my emotions and how they affect his well being and his attention and reactions to me are of so much help
    donna and Rusty

  9. I’m just learning how to post the trot. My horse never had a problem with the walk until now. I get her to take two steps walking, and then she wants to trot. I do a body scan to make sure I’m not sending her cues for the trot, I stop and do deep breathing but as I ask her to walk, she’ll take a few steps and starts to trot. I’m so frustrated that I can’t have a relaxing walk with my horse anymore. I try to use her behavior to push me to learn the posting trot but I sometimes want to just walk and enjoy my surroundings.

    1. You might try trotting just long enough to take the edge off your horse then coming down to a walk. If you don’t want to ride at a trot that long lunging will do. Your horse probably just needs more work and with enough exercise will be happy to walk.

    2. Hi Lee,
      Thank you? I do lunge her before every ride for 15/20 minutes. This is a new behavior for her. I had a trainer ride her 3 or 4 times to slow her trot down a little and this behavior started. She has a very forward trot. I’ve been working on this issue for awhile but find it frustrating riding knowing what I’m in for.

  10. Thanks Callie! I am struggling with the trot to canter transition on an unresponsive lesson horse. He only trots faster. I have watched your videos on “riding a lazy horse” and “three tips on improving canter transitions” multiple times and will be looking for more relevant videos. Unfortunately, I think I tense up a lot when I am trying to remember all the things my body is supposed to do and then I forget half of them and/or move from one cue to another very slowly instead of in a fluid way. Although I do get frustrated, I will continue watching your videos and practicing!

  11. I have problems with getting my horse to trot, and when he does I bounce and have to bring him back to a walk. very frustrating.

  12. My frustration is “quieting” my long legs during trot. I am 6′ tall, so I have long legs, which is great but also means I have long “levers” and my feet will show the movement of my calves more than shorter legs will. I’m trying to put my legs further around my OTTB, but it is hard! I feel like my inner legs aren’t strong enough but I am strength-training my lower body now, and really focusing on reducing my calf movements but it is a challenge.

  13. Im frustrated with not being consistent in my riding. Example: Sometimes i can sit trot really real and the next I’m flopping like a fish. I’m not sure if its my horse or me.

  14. Hi Callie
    Another great post and frustration is an emotion I feel regularly when riding. I want to become a much better riding so it seems appropriate that I feel this emotion on an ongoing and regular basis. I don’t feel disappointed feeling that way but know this comes with the territory and my desire to get better. Sometimes I believe I get frustrated as I know 20 years ago I would have picked up things faster! I remember to not be so hard on myself and know that things are going in the right direction. Thanks for you encouraging words and support.

  15. Thanks again, Callie, for another supportive and encouraging video. I didn’t start riding until I was 50! It was always a lifelong dream and goal. I have been riding for 9 years now but still not where I want to be, and unfortunately got sidelined by cancer for 3 years between 2012 and 2015, so my riding took a back seat. There have been so many days I thought to throw in the saddle pad, but I just can’t give up on this. I envision myself improving and I am going to stick to it.

    1. I also got sidelined with cancer and now ride like a rag doll after losing all my muscle. I refuse to give up so you don’t give up either. Deal?

      1. Deal!! ☺ I too lost all my muscle and am still trying to re-build. We don’t know each other but believe me when I say I am behind you 100%!

  16. Thanks Callie for all your encouraging words and support! Your words of wisdom also helps us in “real life” too!

  17. I’m really frustrated with myself! I took riding up as an adult and have been riding for a couple of years now, but I am a very nervous rider and my fear is holding me back – especially in the canter. I ride school horses/ponies and have ridden a lot of different horses, but my issue is always the same. I feel out of control, I don’t trust in my skill set and I hate the feeling of the horse feeling unbalanced. I know everything that I am doing wrong, but I don’t know how to fix it as I am too scared to just go with it. I feel that I should just give up at times, but I absolutely love being around horses and it gives me so much more than just learning to ride. I don’t know how or if I will ever get past this 🙁

    1. Hi Jo! I’m creeping on 70 and dealing with fear and anxiety for 3 years now. Callie’s advice on how to deal worked wonders for me and it will work wonders for you too. Focusing on positive experiences, breathing and visualization are very important to overcome fear. Make small goals each time to go to the farm. I started out with just tacking her up, mounting, then sitting for just a few moments breathing then dismounting. It is just a little thing to most riders, but for me it was an accomplishment and I patted myself on the back for the courage. It’s been almost a year now and I find myself not dreading going to the farm. I hope this helps you to know you’re not alone and you will ride. I’ll keep you in my prayers and ask the Good Lord to hold your reins and lead you.

    2. Hi Jo, thanks for your comment and sharing your frustration! Go easy on yourself, I know you aren’t the only one who does and has felt this way! I have another resource that may help you, there is a full program available here too, but there are several pages of free resources to get you started.

      I don’t know your situation but you could be overfaced for your skill level. Sometimes you have to trust your gut and ask to go slower or try a different barn.

  18. Finding time and a schedule I can commit to is my current frustration since I started my own business this year. I am always thinking about riding, or reading about it, or watching videos at night, but to have the energy to go out and ride is so tough right now. That said, I do see this as temporary and do feel that once I make the leap and JUST DO IT once, I will be able to get back into a routine. I am starting to REALLY miss it.

  19. Having difficulty with mounting. I have mobility issues and the horse has some issuses.. unable to mount without assistance from a trainer. I also use a mounting block. Having difficulty getting on sets my ride up and not in a good way.

    1. Initially, I would have a friend hold him till you get on. Then each time you get on, make him stand. After a varying number of minutes, give him the cue to go. He has to know that YOU decide when to go, not him. But initially I would have someone hold him till you get on. I used to be able to mount in the middle of an arena. But age has shrunk me, and I no linger can. I always use a mounting block–it’s less likely to be uncomfortable for him anyway.

  20. I am 54 and 10 months into my life long dream of having my own horse to ride and take care of. I am loving every minute of it and there is SO much to learn! My horse has a lot of spirit which I love. But I am still intimidated by him at times. I can get him to lunge on a lead line, but only in one direction AND when he decides he is done, he is done. I can’t get him to move anymore and I don’t have the confidence or skill to figure out what to do next. I will keep watching videos and reading. Is there a video to help me with this problem?

      1. Thank you. That video is very helpful. There is a round pen that I can use that is not too far away. I just need to trailer my horse over there.

    1. Hi Lisa, I don’t have a video here on the blog specifically about this, but I would work with line and whip in the lungeing position but going straight along a wall or fence. Just ask for walk forward and halt, rewarding both. This helps make those basic responses more clear for the horse as well as helping you practice your position and use of tapping with your whip to get a forward walk. I do have videos of my training sessions with horses for lungeing in the Training Journals, which is mostly a compilation of the horses I have in training here at the farm. Here’s more info on that program:

      1. Thank you so much. As I said, I am fairly new to this wonderful horse life, so all of your videos are helpful!

  21. I started riding last September at age 43, then took 3 months off in February due to breaking my wrist, so my progress has been slow! I am still often nervy and find it hard to relax while riding, which of course makes me curl forwards… I am frustrated that even though I am off the lunge now and have been for over 3 months I still get scared when the trot goes faster than I’m used to, which again affects my position, which affects my trot, which… you get the idea! I just want to get over the scaredy pants part, and get to the relaxing and progressing part of riding:) Then I go home and stress about not making progress, which in turn keys me up before lessons! I always think every lesson will be my last one as I’ll just throw in the saddle pad, but I am determined to keep going, even if the going is terribly, terribly slow!

  22. I am an older rider, And am very lucky to be able to ride my daughters horse Blu. I usually hack out mostly because I’m not that confident riding in the school. Your videos are very helpful and I enjoy watching them .

  23. Hi Callie,

    I could easily relate to your video – often times over the past 3 months, I have got frustrated at my lack of progress and I felt My God, I have been learning for the past two years and I am back to square one; I can’t even ride the posting trot properly. I reviewed a couple of my videos and found my posting trot quite ungainly. Also there was a couple of scary times when a particular horse spooked while jumping a very short cross-bar and I fell off but luckily with practically no injuries. I kind of lost of confidence to ride the canter especially on excitable horses and since then my motivation to continue horseback riding waned a bit. I then took a decision to break-off for a month, get myself fitter and then rejoin. Hopefully I will look deep inside for motivation to restart and continue.

  24. I’m riding mostly English and some western. Two teachers two different horses. Different saddles. Different bits. Trying new bits on the western horse. Western after being in a dressage saddle feels like my legs have to relearn. Rein contact on the bigger more powerful western horse that I might even buy vs beginner dressage contact where I’d want to take that horse. Arms still follow. core is essential. Takes time, visualization, thinking to incorporate this all and practice and gets frustrating to have a disjointed moment. But we always end on the good side still frustrating.

      1. You’re welcome! I think Templeton speaks fir al riders. After all, we have all beenthere at one time or another! I actually took a break (I’m 66) from riding my daughter’s horse because I suddenly couldn’t get him to go no matter what I did. My frustration led me to get an instructor out for another lesson. My goal is to ride as beautifully as my daughter.

  25. I started back riding last June after 25 years out of the saddle. I take a lesson weekly and find small advances and some setbacks. I have had good instructors and wonderful horses to ride. The frustration comes in not being able to afford a horse of my own, not even to lease. Costs in Massachusetts are high for keeping a horse at a quality riding stable. If I could ride more, find my own horse and keep at it, my skills would return. My goal is to have fun and feel safe in the saddle. I am still trying to find my comfort level at the canter. I never thought about it all those years ago. I have lots of good moments riding, but cannot improve much on an hour lesson each week. Frustration indeed

    1. If a horse is not within your current financial situation, maybe you could leave a notice at the barns where you ride to tell people you will exercise their horses for them. We took on a woman who can only come out on Sundays when my daughter went off to college, and I didn’t always have the time. She actually took lessons at another barn so she wouldn’t “mess him up”! Wedon’t charge her because she is doing US a favor–and she loves him now. She gives him treats–even pays the shoeing bill if she finds it before we do! She also takes care of his hoof supplement. My daughter didn’t want to shareboard him, but this is the next best thing for all of us. We even left my daughter’s horse to the woman in our will, should we all die!

  26. Hi Callie,
    I’ve been riding for 3 years now and although I can direct the horse in trot around the arena when it comes to the canter , the horse decides how big the circle is .
    I have a lesson on a school horse every week and I’m just not getting how to direct the horse in the fast gait . I can get her into canter easily which is a plus but I feel that I’m not balanced , lose my stirrups and don’t feel like I stick to the saddle ,as well as have no direction skills .
    It’s frustrating as I feel I should of mastered this by now

    1. Hi Becky, thanks for your comment! Keep at it… it sounds to me as if there is something in your position that is keeping you stuck… tightness somewhere that is blocking your ability to move with the canter. I would recommend having someone take a video of you riding at the canter so you can watch it and see if you notice anything about your riding that you may not be able to feel in the moment.

    2. At least you canter I don’t even canter at my new barn even though I have been riding for 2 years at my old barn I cantered and jumped now at my new barn I’m stuck on trotting even though I mastered the post and sitting trot with and without stirrups I don’t know if it’s the trainers that they want money or something but it’s really putting me down.

  27. Hello Callie,
    This message came at the perfect time for me. I started taking lessons a couple years ago in my 50’s, and just last evening while riding I was trying to keep a balanced seat in turns to keep my horse from shortcutting the corners. This is sometimes so difficult for me because I have scoliosis and tend to lean and favor one seat bone. I felt like I should just give up. But, I will follow your great advice to go find an appropriate book or video. Things like that have helped me in the past, but I sometimes forget this.
    Also, to Marilyn, I love the song – Get That Pony Rode.

  28. Thanks for this video Callie, I needed it.

    Today I rode a horse from my riding centre that is very strong and more forward than the usual cob that I ride. I was in the arena for the first time with a few other riders, usually im in there with just my coach. I had real trouble keeping a safe distance from the other riders and couldnt get his trot down to a steady pace at all… Tried all my tricks to slow him down but nothing -could barely stop him in fact. I think it had to do with there being other horses around him going faster than him (maybe).

    Eventually I got off and quit, I just wanted to go home and scream. I thought ‘This is crap, even for a novice like me!’. But I will keep going. As you say, this frustration could lead to a breakthrough – I sure hope so.

    Love your videos as always,


    1. Hi Anne, Glad this video came at a good time for you. School horses can feel difficult but so helpful in that they help us learn many different lessons. For example I have horses that teach riders how to get forward movement and then others, perhaps like the one you rode here, who teach how to find a stable seat and get the stop… a valuable lesson later in emergencies!

  29. Hi, I like your information. I am 71 and have had way too many surgeries and most recently a broken fibula. None due to riding but the start/stop of my riding is very frustrating. I have a 10 yo Morgan gelding. He is still green in my mind. Good trail horse. I realize things don’t always go the way you’d like but frustrating none the less. I keep plugging along and have had to change my plans a bit. I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes. Just looking to be more consistent.

  30. I have been taking lessons with a new trainer for the past 8 months and I was learning so so much, I have improved an incredible amount, and riding is so much more enjoyable to me. Recently I have moved back to my old trainer and she is teaching me bad habits that i fought so hard to break. She tells me to physically point my thigh, knee, and toes out. This is very uncomfortable and I hate it. I want to move back to where the other trainer is but I can’t until this fall. I don’t want to go back to how I rode last year, but I don’t want to be disrespectful to this trainer. She is the only english trainer in my summer town so It’s either her or nothing. I have also been switching trainers quite a bit and every time we start over. I have friends that are at training level and I haven’t even competed beginner novice. I feel so behind and sort of left out, I just want to catch up and feel like i’m a part of the barn. But now that i’m in my summer place its like i’m just going down hill…

    1. Can you opt to not take lessons with your old trainer and just ride and practice things on yoyr own, remembering your good trainer’s advice? You don’t want to instill bad habits, so just don’t take lessons. Make up your own plan of lessons for things you want to work on withyour horse. Going a few months without lessons but still riding can be a much-needed break. Or try some obstacle courses for something different until you can be with your good trainer again. Don’t waste the time and education by not riding or by riding the “wrong” way. Just use it maybe as a vacation to try some different things. Each time I tried something different, my daughter’s horse paid more attention–he had to as I was surprising him, so he didn’t know what the next step would be.

  31. Hi Callie,
    Nice video. Thank you for the positive take on frustration and the options it presents to further growth. When we persevere with something, we grow neuro connections in our brains and create new pathways. It’s called a growth mind-set.

  32. Hi Callie,
    Thank you so much for raising this subject. And thanks everybody for the commets, they may cheer up the most frustrated rider!
    I started my adventure with riding as an adult a few years ago and I’ve always struggled with some inability to do this or that (first rising trot, then canter transitions, etc) but I accept my own pace of learning. I simply enjoy the way not only achiving aims. What helps me carry on is awareness that sometimes we need to take one step back to go two forward. Luckily I met instructors who took this step back with me (e.g. when for a while I became so insecure that I was scared even to mount a well-known quiet horse).
    Currently I’m working with an instructor who seems to be ambitious and pushes me to go ahead faster and faster. She expects me to improve my skills each time we meet and can’t see that when some of my old bad habits appear (like leaning too much forward) I need some support, an exercise or time to fix it first before doing new things. But I only hear that we aren’t going to practise the things which I already know. Then I fail to do anything correctly and my enthusiasm for these lessons is shrinking. I’ve been in this barn for 4 months and fancy staying for well-trained horses but I’m in two mind about the situation during my lessons. I think I’ll look at positive points and just try another barn.

    1. Hi Ewa. I would switch instructors. I know that is sometimes hard, but I also got back into riding as a much older adult. My instructor was a young girl, and sometimes she just didn’t get that I could not do what she was asking (either physically or from fear). Also, it is hard to “progress” when you are only riding once or maybe twice a week, which is what I was doing. Again, I know it’s hard, but I would try to find someone who is more in tune with what you want. After all, what’s the hurry? Good Luck, Fran

      1. I started riding at age 50 and had the same experience. The instructor I was using even told me I would never be able to ride and that I should do some soul-searching and just quit. I found another instructor and am doing better now. Learning a skill when you’re a senior is VERY different from learning a skill when you’re 9. Younger instructors just don’t seem to get that, and how would they? They have no frame of reference from which to understand the challenges that older riders face. Anyway, if you’re not progressing with your instructor, find another one.

  33. Hi Callie. I love watching your videos. They are always helpful. My frustration is that I cannot get the correct lead going to the right. I have been riding Patrick for about 5 years now. I was at a barn where he was in the lesson program. When I purchased him that was the only way I could afford to board a horse. He is an Appaloosa and a fairly big boy. He is very good and sweet so that meant that a lot of beginners were put on him and he did get away with a lot. So when I would ride I would have to struggle with all the bad habits. I have since moved to a new barn about a year ago, switched to western and we are both very happy there. I am the only one who rides him and I think he is much happier going western. I know I am. I am more successful now in that I occasionally do get the lead to the right, but most times it is in my lesson (after my instructor gets on him and/or in a clinic. When I’m on my own I try to remember everything from my lessons but most times I fail to get it. He is so good at everything else and I love him dearly but I am so frustrated about this right lead business. I had hoped to show him this summer at some local shows but I don’t want to until I am more consistent. I am willing to write off the first 3 years at the old barn, but it is almost a year now and I just don’t know why I cannot do this. Any ideas.

  34. Such a timely video Callie. I have started to feel frustrated lately. I am riding a new lesson pony at the riding school I go to. She is a sweetie but I am having trouble keeping her in the trot, and I feel so frustrated with myself. I spoke to my instructor about this and she was great. Apparently the clever wee pony is taking advantage of my inexperience at present until I get more with her. But I was given great advice so as not to beat my self up. To look at how far I have come from when I started learning to ride, just a few months ago. Rather than always thinking I am not good enough or improving fast enough. Fingers crossed I am about to make a major break through and we will be trotting right around the whole arena soon.

  35. My horse is as hard as a rock. And he bucks when I ask him for a trot. The last time I rode him he bucked four times. . I have no idea how to soften him.

  36. I want to tell you a story that is far from raiding, but absolutely about breaking things down to smaller pieces.

    I had just suffered a stress break down (a burn out) and every small task was immensely huge. I needed to do my book keeping but couldn’t because my desk was a mess – and I couldn’t take my time to bring it to order because I needed to do my book keeping. And two weeks went by.

    I finally cleaned the area to the left of my keyboard. That was my “break through”. The day after I sorted the rest of my desk (half an hour) and made my book keeping (two hours). Ever since then, if a core seams to big, a start with “just one corner”.

  37. This may not be a lot of other people’s frustration but it is my biggest. Almost to the point of feeling like I should give up on riding altogether. My frustration is weather/time/and having to constantly start over from square one mentally and physically with my horse. The weather seems to always be horrible when I do finally have the time to go out to the barn then it ends up I can’t work with her or ride. It ultimately ends up being weeks or even a month or more until I have time to be at the barn and do anything. Then it always seems I’m having to start over every time and I’m not ever getting anywhere. I have some confidence issues also so this problem really doesn’t help.

  38. Hi there,
    I’m taking lessons with posting and I don’t understand why I having such difficulty with it now. I used to ride some time back and I thought I would just get right back into the saddle but this is not the case for me. I now find myself bouncing all over the saddle. Talk about frustration…..what can I look for to stop the bouncing while riding English saddle?

    Thank you,

    1. Derek, where do you think you’re going wrong? You know the old saying, “Rise and fall with the leg on the wall” to rise at the correct “diagonal”? That’s it in a nutshell. Until I repeated that saying in my head, I could never remember when I was supposed to rise. Another thing to note is that you are not rising by pushing yourself up from the stirrups when you post–you are gripping with your thighs. You should be rising when your horse’s outside leg (the “leg on the wall,” not the leg facing the arena) is moving forward. Here’s a good way to remember that I found on WikiHow: “At first, it can be difficult to tell which diagonal your horse is on. A good trick is to watch your horse’s outside shoulder. You should rise out of your seat as his shoulder moves forward and sit back down as it moves back.
      If the movement is difficult to pinpoint, stick a bandage or piece of colored tape on the horse’s shoulder. This makes the movement easier to see.”

  39. Thanks Callie for this video and thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. It’s good to know that I’m not alone. The thing that frustrates me most are my current ups and downs. I have been riding rather calm school horses for six years before “upgrading” to a sports horse a couple of months ago. After two months of riding this horse, I fell off, broke my wrist and had to stop for two months. I got back on the horse a month ago and since then, I get unhinged by everything that doesn’t work out as planned. Especially when I had a really good feeling the time before. For example, we had a really great hack two days ago and I felt like everything fell into place, like I really got the hang of it – and today, it was just awful, with my horse spooking all the time and me getting nervous and making mistakes when I really should know better. I experience this as a major setback and am afraid that I will never get where I want to go with this horse. At the same time, I know that it’s already a big step for a rather nervous rider like me to confront my fears by continuing to work with this horse… but sometimes it’s hard to carry on and not to throw in the saddle pad and get back to my school horses. So thanks to everyone for your inspiration!

  40. Hi Callie,
    I have been following your training and tutorials for a while and am finding them very clear,
    interesting and to the point. I share a horse, a 14 year old Haflinger mare that has been trained
    by her owner who is a Western riding instructor. I have been seeing this horse for the best part of a year now, have tried to do (connected) groundwork, gone for trail walks and recently started riding her as well. I have real trouble getting any reaction or forward movement from her…it’s like I have to ask for every single step and while most other horses in the barn respond in some way to me – even just passing by – I can count myself lucky when she occasionally shows at least some response to grooming or touch or at least lifts her head when I come to the paddock.
    Under her owner she shows that she can walk, do figures, do canter changes and sliding stops and even win a tournament but I don’t seem to get through. The owner tells me to put my foot down and make sure she takes me seriously but I am finding it hard to work with constant pressure.
    In the past I shared horses and got reactions and rather had to take speed out, rather than get them to move forward. This mare lives in a herd in a paddock all year round, gets seen by farriers, dentists, physios on a regular basis, is still overweight from a recuperation phase after an injury, but has lost some 40 kgs already…another 40 should still go, though.
    If you have any idea for me to make the ‘training’ a bit easier for both of us, I’d be very happy.
    Thanks for any feedback

    1. Hi Gabi, thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear about your frustrations! Just a few questions so I can get a better understanding of the situation – are you also riding her western or do you ride her English? How long have you been riding her? My first thought is to make sure that if you are riding her in a different saddle than the other rider make sure that it fits her well. Also, if she has always been ridden western and now is being asked to move more forward in the gaits it might take some time for her to develop the proper muscle to be able to move forward.

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

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