Does a horse need to be ridden?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by abbygibson1212, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. abbygibson1212

    abbygibson1212 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had horses in the past (a really buddy sour gelding that I stopped riding after I got threw off when I was little, then a blm mustang, and then a green broke qh mare) and now I have a new gelding (my only horse right now), he is 6 years and when I brought him home 3 weeks ago, the first two times I rode him, even though I was super nervous, he did great! Just like he did when I tried him out at his previous owners, but now, he refuses to move when I'm on him, I'll kick and kick and he just stands there, and today he threw my dad off when he tried to get him to do what he wanted, so, I've been stressing out over this all day trying to figure why he could be acting this way and what to do about it (I think he might actually be missing his horse companions) anyways, I've been thinking and thinking and I realized I don't really like riding. I mean, I don't dislike it, but I don't love it and look forward to it either, I'm usually pretty nervous (probably from my accident when I was younger) and I got to wondering, does a horse need to be ridden? Or would it be enough to do ground work, play with him, groom him, pet and love on him, stay out side and spend time with him and walk him around? Because I LOVE horses, and I love doing all of that stuff with them, I just don't like riding really. I know most people say its a waste having a horse you don't ride, but I see it as, if people have dogs for companionship and don't use them for anything, why can't you do it with a horse? I know they need to be kept in shape and kept busy, hence all of the ground work and playing, and at the moment I am able to spend every weekend with him, and as soon as I move (in about 2 months) I'll be able to spend every day with him. And I plan on getting him a companion. So if i work with him/play him/spend time with him everyday, is that enough? And is there anyone else who thinks like this?
     
  2. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Sing Brightly Premium Member Project Manager

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    No reason why you could not, just as long as he is getting exercise, even from just running around the pasture, but you are already aware of that. [​IMG]
    I know lots of horses who are never ridden, and they are happy and healthy.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    I've kept many a horse and donkeys and ponies that I never rode, they just need room to run and play when the urge hits them, and hoof care more often, sounds like your horse is barn sour, had a few like that, they prefer company to leave the barn with and refuse to go on their own, I'm sure another horse could get him going.
     
  4. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    The reason your horse is doing this is because he has figured out that he can. That's all. It's not about the barn, or about other horses (or the lack of them). It's about the horse settling in (it often takes about 2 to 3 weeks) and adapting to his new surroundings. His previous owner knew how to make him behave, so he did. The first couple of times you rode him, he was still unsure of himself, and he did what you asked. But now he knows the players in the new herd, and he has decided to try calling the shots himself. This scenario gets played out all the time - person gets a new horse, the horse is great for a couple of weeks, then all these unpleasant behaviors start cropping up and the horse gets sidelined or sold because the owner doesn't know how to deal with them.

    This horse is 6 years old - in horse terms, he's pretty young. It's normal for a horse of this age to be constantly testing his handlers. Honestly, it sounds like he may be too much for a timid rider like you. While the problem might be something physical (issues with the tack, for example), there's an old piece of advice that proves to be true more often than not, "when you have a problem with a horse, the first place to look is a mirror." Is there maybe a good trainer in your area that you can take lessons from?

    To answer your question - no, it is not necessary that a horse be ridden, though if he is to remain rideable, he needs to have those lessons reinforced. Every time he throws a rider, or throws a fit and doesn't get ridden, underscores for him the idea that he can decide for himself how things go. Will he be content with this, or is he going to start getting pushy on the ground as well? Do you have the experience to make "the right choice easy, and the wrong choice hard" when doing ground work, or is he likely to get bored and start making the decisions for himself there, too? I have known horses that anyone could handle on the ground, but which needed experienced riders, and horses that were not to be trusted on the ground, either - especially young ones.

    Something you need to remember, is that a horse is not a dog. They don't think alike, they don't act alike, they don't respond in the same way to stimuli. Most dogs will be perfectly content hanging out with humans, but it's a rare horse that gets it social needs met by the part-time companionship of a person. Horses really need other horses. Can that make them "buddy sour?" Absolutely - but getting over that is something that every horse needs to learn to do if it's going to be useful for anything other than group rides. I'm sure that if you could ask the horses, most would prefer that we just left them totally alone and let them do their own thing out in the pasture all day. They put up with us because they have to. Daily contact is necessary to keep the horse interacting with you, but as far as the horse is concerned, if he has others of his kind to hang out with, he really doesn't "need" anything you would do with him, and anything you could do would be a poor substitute for the plain ol' normal horse interactions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  5. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with the others. Horses don't need to be ridden to have a full and happy life. Enjoy your horse.
     
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Quoted for truth.

    Because the OP is a weak and timid rider, I highly recommend getting lessons from a professional. And investing in a horse that is MUCH older than six, who has extensive training (one that is bombproof). A six year old horse is not a good horse for someone who can't handle the horse. You need to bring a professional along when purchasing a horse. They will know what to look for to find a horse that is appropriate.
     
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  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm with bunnylady and Stacykins.

    Your horse does not need to be ridden. But, if you're unconfident enough not to be able to ride him, you're rapidly going to lose control of him on the ground also. You won't have these idyllic days spent grooming him or just walking him down a dirt road. You'll not be able to catch him, when you do he'll be pushy, perhaps nipping, not moving out of your space, pulling to graze instead of walking beside you, just being ill-mannered overall. An ill mannered horse that does not respect your and your space can easily be dangerous. An alpha horse shoves into or kicks a beta horse, with horses they can take it and not get injured. A half ton horse that is your alpha shoves into you, you're gonna get knocked down. He kicks you, you're going to get broken somehow.

    You need a trainer or a lesson instructor. Someone to work with you on your confidence, probably on an older, well broke horse. It doesn't sound like you have a history of riding any enjoyable horses, and I think you don't really know what riding can be when it's a good partnership. You need to be able to experience that, and your current horse may not be the first place to start. I would say do NOT get a"companion" for your horse right away. Maybe look into boarding somewhere where there's an instructor and you can both get some lessons/training.

    If you seriously do not want to ride, sell this young horse. Buy a retired horse in their late teens or early 20s, one who has been around the block and is a confirmed beta animal. One who doesn't have a ton of energy anymore and isn't that invested in being alpha. An older mare or gelding who would be happy to just hang out for ten or fifteen more years and turn hay into manure for you, and ahs already paid their dues. There are tons of such animals going begging for homes.
     
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  8. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    If you just want horses that you can play with, there's always miniature horses. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    (I have 3. This is Blondie)
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    But, minis are still horses and the OP will still need to have the confidence to manage them. An ill-mannered mini may not be able to do the physical damage a large horse can, but it's still not going to be a pleasant companion if it's the boss of the human.
     
  10. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Sing Brightly Premium Member Project Manager

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    :love Just wanted to say, she's adorable!
     

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