The horse I currently own is my first one. He’s a 12yo chestnut TB that I’ve had for five years this year. I’ve hardly done as much with him as I’ve wanted to over the time I’ve had as most people have with their horses. I want to be able to compete and go to new places, but Sam gets practically uncontrollable at shows. When I mean uncontrollable, I mean head high in the air, looking at everything, calling out, spooking at everything (more than normal), and prancing under saddle. I’m not exactly a confident rider. I used to be, but I’ve had a lot of unfortunate events like falling which has left much of dented. So when the prancing gets started, the fear really begins to set in. Like, I’ll do everything you’re most definitely not supposed to do in these situations: lean forward, take up the reins as tightly as a jokey would, and sometimes just cry and beg to get off.
Now, before I get told that he’s not the right horse for me and that I should just “face the facts” that we’re “not compatible” and I should “sell the nag” as some people have politely said to me in the past, Sam’s a bad horse. He’s truly a sweetheart. At home, he’s a great ride when he’s not spooking at a bush or the cats running around. I’ve competed at my club before in hacks and dressage, and we got 5th in dressage, 1st and 2nd places in most of the classes we entered in one last hack and we even won champion in our class one year. The last hack I took him on, we got a few 5ths and 1st and he didn’t act up at all. We rode beautifully! But then I took him to a dressage show AT THE SAME PLACE a month later and he was uncontrollable (granted, it didn’t help that it was windy and he was getting separated from my sister’s horse; so that didn’t help at all).
Sometimes at pony club, he’ll be a dream ride and then other rallies he’s a nightmare, which I don’t understand seeing that I’ve been taking him there for five years now, so he should be as chilled as anything. Like, riders there have brought new horses in that they’ve had for months, and Sam’s still loosing his marbles after going there for FIVE YEARS. We don’t take him places with my sister’s horse anymore because our horses have separation anxiety, and with us being in different classes experience wise, Sam acts up and I can’t ride. The last time I took him out that wasn’t to pony club was at a cross country clinic three years ago, and I felt like he was going to bolt the entire time because it was open fields and it was a new place, so I had to walk him around on foot everywhere to chill him out.
My trainer has been helping me out as much as she can, but it’s, ironically, like leading a horse to water and expecting him to drink. Every time something goes wrong, we’re back to square one and I’m too afraid to do anything all over again. She’s a state champion and an excellent rider who has helped me with my confidence a lot before it crashes and burns every time something bad happens. She says that Sam is a very calm horse and a good fit for me when he’s not an arse, and a lot of people agree. She’s suggested a herbal treatment called Rescue Remedy for me as a last ditch effort, and it didn’t work.
I don’t want to get rid of Sam. He’s not a bad horse, and we work together quite well a lot of the time, not to mention that my parents and my trainer refuse to let me sell him, so either way I have no choice but to keep him, which I’m not arguing against. I think one of the problems is that he’s not confident. And since I’m not confident either, who’s going to be his leader? I’m being as patient as I can with him, which is obvious by the five years of doing practically nothing in the competition world bar two hacks and two dressage comps and a few competitions where I chickened out because Sam was loosing his marbles. I’m desperate for a way to be able to take him to places without him acting up. One of the teachers at my club recommended herbal remedies to calm Sammy down, but I can’t remember what she said about it. I’m open to the reliable and legal herbal remedies route if any.
If you want to know what I feed him:
1x biscuit of meadow hay every morning
2x biscuits of meadow hay every night
Wheaten chaff, lucerne chaff, pollard, magnesium, husks, water
He used to get pellets a while ago like Stablemate, but my trainer told me to take him off it because it still revved him up. Before that, he used to only get hay, but then I’d find him eating his own manure because he wasn’t getting enough food.
I also ride him as much as I can; mostly three days a week. Since I’m currently at university, that’s all I can muster, but I’m a five month break right now, so I ride him five days a week with the weekend off, unless it’s extremely windy outside which I refuse to ride in.
Hopefully you guys can give me a hand, because I’m desperate to fix this.