What’s the purpose of a pro-ride?

5/15 EDIT: I am overwhelmed by the responses! Thank you all so much! I am going to talk with the trainer I lesson with about finding a new pro rider and coming up with a new schedule for him. He has had maintenance within the last few months. Saddle fit and chiropractor are what I am looking into now given the different tack and rides he is getting.

What is the purpose of a pro ride? I pay a professional to ride my horse and I’m not sure it is working out. I do not lesson with the professional who does his rides, I lesson with a different professional.

My geldings week currently goes
Monday: off
Tuesday: flat lesson, usually fresh after a day off
Wednesday: lesson, usually cavalettis as we are too fresh to jump bigger right now. Usually improved from Tuesday’s ride.
Thursday: hack, sometimes a little fresh but more amenable.
Friday: pro ride
Saturday: pro ride
Sunday: lesson. Horrible ride, he isn’t listening, he is avoiding my aids, overall just super frustrating ride. It’s like he’s forgotten everything I worked on at the beginning of the week.

I thought the purpose of a professional riding my horse was to make my horse more tuned up, more amenable to the things I’m asking him. In turn making my rides better and easier. The professional has good rides, and then I get on the day after and have the worst ride of the week. It’s like we take 10 steps backwards. Shouldn’t the professional be having difficult rides?

If she jumps him that week, he is stopping, spooking, and running out of jumps with me. I’ve been working on collection and respect of a half halt and my seat and he is unbelievably fussy, heavy, and sensitive in his mouth after she has ridden him. If he has less rides with her, he is typically better for me.

Is it me? Is it the professional? I don’t know how to approach this but it’s getting to the point where I’m considering selling him. I’m an amateur. I have a decent skill set and tend to give a decent ride. I can usually finish my ride with a nice soft and supple horse, I’ve never felt like I have done more harm than good when riding a horse. Until now. Maybe my horse hates me and enjoys a taste of an actual ride so when I get back on he’s miserable?

Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated as I’m at my wits end with this situation.

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Do you watch his rides with the pro? I would want to see what’s going on in person.


Unfortunately I work long days when he gets his pro rides. Anytime I have ever been sent a video I have hated what I saw. Recently a trot with him flinging his head up and down, maybe it was bugs touching his nose? And swapping behind in downward transitions.

Well, the answer is, as usual, it depends. We’ve all seen the owner who says “Snookums is alway so great for me and so bad for the pro, he must just love me”, when the reality is that they let the horse poke around doing whatever it wants with no goals or direction or correction and of course the horse is just fine and then 100% resentful when someone gets on who wants to, you know, steer and things, or possibly even bend.
So there could be a lot of things going on with your horse, your pro, and you. She could be awful; the timing could be bad in that your horse is sour or hot after ramping up the work so much towards the end of the week; she could be great but then he resents you. Who knows. But since you have the situation where you are using two professionals, have the one you lesson with watch the one that rides, and see what they have to say about it. I’m assuming the one you lesson with doesn’t ride, or you wouldn’t have set it up this way. If that’s not the case, have your actual trainer ride.


I have to ask Why?
If you ride with a different trainer, is there a reason that Pro can’t do the training rides?
Who recommended the one doing the “Pro” rides?
Quotes because something ain’t right if you see :poop: on a video, then experience a bad ride directly after this “Pro” rides.
By any chance does the Pro who trains you have a relationship - business or otherwise - with the one doing the rides?
I’m guessing that’s a Yes.

TBH, when I had my Show Hunter at a barn 1hr from home & worked full-time, the only time I had my Trainer get on was if there was a show coming up on a weekend I couldn’t take off Thursday or Friday to ride myself.
My horse wasn’t difficult for me, but he was no pushbutton packer either.

Unless your horse is a problem ride for you all the time* & you have goals to compete/show frequently & ASAP, I don’t see a need for so much training.


You are correct, the trainer I lesson with doesn’t ride currently due to health reasons. I don’t enjoy lessons with the one doing the rides, I don’t think her way of teaching makes any sense and it’s a waste of my time and money. I feel like that may translate to the rides as well.


Seems like maybe that’s the problem, then. I would find someone else to ride him. If you generally ride well and jump him twice a week in lessons I would find someone competent to hack him one day and flat him one day and not worry about the jumping unless there’s a specific issue.


The trainer I lesson with doesn’t ride at the moment. And I don’t particularly find the one doing the pro rides any good at teaching. My trainer is the one who wants the rides to happen, but at this point I think I rather he be off then work with the professional and see where that gets me. The professional makes me feel like I’m the problem but the less she rides him the better my rides are.


I wonder if it could be something as mundane as saddle fit or soreness. Pros like to use their own tack.


We do ride in different tack. I will look into having a saddle fitter come out and check both our saddles. I didn’t think of that. Thank you!


Your horse, your Program.
Tell the one you ride with you aren’t happy with the training rides & will be stopping them.
Hope that does not result in you being browbeaten into continuing to pay for something you’re dissatisfied with.
Remember it’s a business & you’re the client.
What you want should be primary & open to discussion with your input as valuable as other parties involved.


Thank you! I have tried to ask for him to have days off versus getting a pro ride and the trainer I lesson with just has him ridden. I have been feeling quite disrespected and will have to speak up more firmly, especially if my next ride is not a good one.


I’ve had this very issue. One of my horses was back sore after being pro-ridden. It was a combination of the saddle fit and the pro’s riding, and it was detrimental to the horse’s condition and attitude. I put an end to the pro rides, gave him those days off and he became magically softer and happier.


Unless Trainer wants to pay for those rides & even then YOU decide who rides.
If you don’t have anyone in mind, no rides until you do.
As a longtime trainer/friend once told me:
“You empower the trainer”


I’m going to have a saddle fitter come out and check our saddles. We ride in different tack, I do believe our saddles are very different fits as well.

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I had this situation when moving to a new city and barn. “Pro” absolutely fried the quietest easiest young horse in like 3 rides. Turns out her method of correcting a horse involved leaning way back and taking the horse’s teeth out if it wasn’t doing exactly what she wanted. He was far from the only horse she fried but I figured it out the quickest and got her off him. Took another half dozen people leaving for the owner/trainer to do something. A year and later, after moving him to another barn, he’s a dead quiet, completely reliable, takes a million jokes 2’6 packer for an older adult ammie.

The horse is telling you something, and I think you probably know it isn’t the saddle fit.


There are a lot of bad pros out there, like any profession.


If you are not happy with the horse after the pro has ridden and you are not happy with videos of them riding your horse, stop it now. You are the advocate for your horse.

As to answer your questions there is 2 reasons I ride hubby’s horse now and then. One I can get him forward and then hubby has a lovely ride and realises he is not getting him forward enough for his next ride. The horse goes better after I have ridden him not worse.

The other is that Sim tells me what hubby is doing for me to tell hubby. Last time it was that Sim was hitting the bit when asked to go forward. There is a skill for a rider to ask a horse forward, not let him hit the bit and not throw the reins away. It takes a horses confidence away.

The next lesson was on that. A happier horse and rider.

Just a word of warning. The first time I said something it was about Sim running. It hurt hubby’s feelings. However a lesson on getting Sim to work from behind instead of running and he felt he learnt a lot.

He doesn’t get hurt feelings anymore. He actually asks me to get on Sim to see what Sim’s opinion is.


If you don’t like what you see from the pro in the videos then why is he still going there?


I realize you work long hours, but I think the best thing to do is to watch one (preferably more) of the rides. Swap around the horse’s schedule, even if it means sacrificing one of your rides. The video might be representative, or it might not. It might be the horse is pissy because of the pro’s saddle and technique, or (assuming he’s still green, since he’s mainly jumping cavaletti), he might just be angry about having to work harder and you’re suffering the hangover.

Regardless, it’s hard to know without seeing the lesson. You should see what you’re paying for. I also hate to say, even with good trainers, when a client is never around when a particular horse is being ridden, sometimes the trainer will ride differently. Sometimes be stronger about correcting the horse because “mom” isn’t at the rail watching, or sometimes just cut the training sessions short.