There are numerous reasons why a horse may dislike being ridden. If your horse begins to misbehave during your riding sessions, the first step is to discover whether the problem is physical or psychological.
Examine your horse with a veterinarian, farrier, and physiotherapist to rule out any health issues.
1. Improperly Fitting Tack
One of the most prevalent reasons horses dislike being ridden is ill-fitting equipment. Inadequately sized bits and bridles can be uncomfortable for the horse to wear and cause head shaking.
On the other hand, an ill-fitting saddle will induce pressure points on the horse’s back and suffering while riding. White hairs under the saddle suggest that the equipment is too small.
Ideally, your saddle fitter should inspect your horse every six months, as components of the saddle may need to be adjusted owing to musculoskeletal changes. Making sure your horse’s equipment fits and is comfortable goes a long way toward making riding more enjoyable.
2. Excessive training aids
While riding, you should only utilize the bare minimum of training aids. Whips, spurs, martingales, side reins, and tie-downs are the most commonly used training aids. With comprehensive training and good riding, any training aids can be avoided.
However, you may discover that employing a training device aids your horse’s present level of training. In this scenario, keep in mind that accessory straps like martingales should only be used for a brief period until your horse overcomes the issue. Many specialists have discovered that using these training aids for an extended period causes the horse to work against the apparatus.
3. Health Concerns
Riding might be uncomfortable for your horse if he has several health conditions. The sooner you discover out what’s wrong, the sooner your horse will be able to enjoy riding again.
Back and leg difficulties, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, and hoof disorders are the most frequent health issues that impact riders. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s wrong, so you should get your horse inspected from all perspectives.
Remember that horses automatically hide their pain for as long as possible. This adaption allowed them to survive in the wild for millions of years. As a result, it’s good to undergo yearly health examinations to spot problems early.
The ridden horse ethogram and the equine grimace scale might help determine whether your horse is in pain.
Horses, like humans, have distinct personalities, and some are not suited to riding. Although most horses may be trained to carry a rider, their attitude and temperament will decide whether or not they enjoy it.
It’s also possible that a horse isn’t in the mood to ride on that particular day. Horses, like humans, have terrible days, and it’s a great gesture to be gentle with them during those times.
5. Previous encounters
If a prior rider has abused a horse, it may dislike riding for the rest of its life. It is always far easier to undermine a horse’s confidence than restore it. A nervous horse will require a lot of time, love, and attention to learn to like riding again.
Inexperienced horses may sometimes dislike being ridden at first since they now have to work harder than previously. They will, however, become accustomed to regular riding sessions, and many will start to like the exercise.
6. Rider Issue
The riders themselves may be the most significant cause leading horses to dislike being ridden. As riders, we have a responsibility always to develop our abilities and fitness to help horses transport us.
An enormous or unsuitable rider can cause several issues in the horse. According to research, horses can securely carry up to 20% of their body weight. A rider who is too big for the horse will undoubtedly suffer back pain and musculoskeletal problems.
Even if weight isn’t an issue, an unfit rider is more likely to sit imbalanced on the horse, leading to problems like unequal muscular growth. As a result, it’s a good idea to have someone check at our riding regularly and tell us if we’re not sitting properly.
Inexperienced, unduly harsh, uninformed, or frightened riders can also cause issues. If the rider is scared, it’s natural for the horse to be agitated or fearful. If the rider is stressed, they reason, and there must be something to be concerned about it.
How to make your horse’s riding experience more pleasurable
There is always space for improvement when it comes to riding. You’d be shocked how many things you can do to improve your horse’s riding experience.
Take into account your horse’s preferences.
Horses often like us better and are more cooperative when considering how they are feeling. Be willing to modify your training regimen based on your horse’s preferences, and he will reward you. This does not imply allowing your horse to do anything he wants; rather, it is a compromise that makes both parties happy.
Of course, this entails getting to know your horse and what he enjoys. Try to pay close attention to what your horse is telling you about the riding you do together in the coming weeks.
If your horse appreciates a certain exercise, perform it more often! Allow him to work in a group if he enjoys it! If he’s a portion of food, include feeding breaks in your trail rides as a treat.
Change things up
Providing variation in training ensures that your horse is engaged and attentive while working. No horse-like dull repetitious work; therefore, this will make him want to ride more!
Alternate between arena work and trail riding if possible. The arena is filled with lunging, flatwork, pole work, figures, transitions, and leaping activities. You can also alternate between working alone and collaborating in a group.
Create a positive relationship with your horse.
Spending quality time with your horse will help to improve your bond and increase his liking for you. He will like spending time with you and going on rides with you.
Improve your horse’s comfort.
Always strive to reduce your horse’s training aids and move to friendlier equipment. Having comfort will considerably boost your horse’s enjoyment of riding.
Be calm and patient.
Things will not always go your way while dealing with horses. Try to be calm, patient, and understanding when this happens, and your horse will appreciate it.
Get your horse in shape.
Horses in good physical condition will carry their riders more easily and appreciate the workout more. Check that your horse has sufficient muscle strength and stamina for the degree of exercise you’re performing.
Friendship, foraging, and freedom
These three items are critical for the health of every horse. Allow your horse lots of turnout in the companionship of other horses during non-riding hours, and feed a forage-based diet. Horses who live a good life and are mentally well will enjoy being ridden more.