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Paint Problems

My granddaughter has been riding a friends paint for a few months now. He has stubborn streaks and she has made the mistake of being heavy handed with the reins. He now acts out whenever she gets on him will not do what is asked . He tried the same acting out with me the other day . Is it possible the bit is to harsh? Also how do I get my grandaughter to get her confidence back and get control once again.


I would bet your granddaughter was too harsh as well as the bit and that is why the horse is acting up with her. She has made it afraid. While some bits are harsher than others, they are only tools. They are only as good as the person using them. Heavy hands make any bit harsh and a novice ride on a sensitive horse is not a good formula. Novice riders should ride horses that are tolerant of beginners. Sensitive horses should not be given to novices to ride because they will not tolerate heavy hands and inexperienced 'leadership'. I would not let your granddaughter ride this horse. It will damage the horse and will not help your granddaughter's confidence or horsemanship abilities.

First of, I would find her a calm, tolerant, bomb proof horse to ride and learn on. One that is mature and patient. There are many wonderful horses for children, you have to have 'bomb proof' in mind when looking. Not a flashy, young, very sensitive or inexperienced horse. I have witnessed to many sad occurances when well meaning parents have gotten a young child a young horse thinking they would grow up together. Who whould you rather see raise a child, another child or an experienced adult parent? Additionally, it is not about your daughter getting control of the horse. Horses are too big to control. This is a mistaken belief that we 'control' things in our lives. More appropriately your daughter needs to learn about horses (at least as much as she learns about riding horses). Riding horses has the horse as a fun vehicle with little or no information given about the horse itself and how to have the kind of relationship and communication with it that allows horse and human to really dance together, without one party abusing the other which is the way it goes for horses mostly. Most places only teach ridng the horse, they do not teach anything about horses except mucking stalls and grooming/saddling. This is so aweful and creates such misunderstanding and abuse towards horses that it has become my mission to have riding instructors teach 'horse' along with riding.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of even long time horse owners, while being decent riders, know nothing really about their horses. When a behavorial problem occurs (like the one your granddaughter is having with the paint), they don't have a clue as to how to modify the animal's behavior except by going to harsher restraint and abuse. Perhaps some of the folks in your area may have interest in learning these gentle, efficient, effective and non-abusive ways of dealing with behavioral problems with horses. I travel the world these days (Greece in May) teaching these principles and techniques. I am free to present one, two or three day seminars anywhere. I am based now at a lovely guest ranch just outside of Aspen, CO and receive folks here for a week or two for immersion programs. Please consider this also as an option for your granddaughter and her folks. This is a fabulous place for a family vacation with so much natural beauty and so many wonderful things to do.

Again, I would suggest your granddaughter not ride this horse. She does not have to skills to be non-abusive in how she deals with this horse and the problems will only escalate for her and the horse. I hope it hasn't gotten so far that the horse has to be retrained. Although it sounds like that may already be the case. She needs knowledge and time spent learning about horses. There is no quick fix and I cannot give that much to you in a email except to offer the advice that she ride horses not beyond her level of experience until she gains more experience. You wouldn't give a beginning driver a hot sports car and tell them to go learn to drive. Its the same here. Please let me know if you have interest in a program in your area. They are easy to set up and very beneficial to all, especially the horses and the children.

Thanks for your question and inquiry. The best of luck to you, your granddaughter and family.

Sincerely, Franklin

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